What does the word integrity mean to you?
If you’re a blogger, what does “blogging with integrity” mean to you?
I’m not asking for Webster’s definition, but rather what does integrity represent to YOU?
I’ve noticed there is a badge some bloggers even display on their sites stating they “blog with integrity.” I’ve never signed up for that badge. I didn’t feel a need to because, well, come on. It’s not like I’m going to blog without integrity.
Isn’t this stating the obvious?
I’ve learned a thing or two about myself, blogging and integrity during the first days of 2012, or more accurately perhaps, a few things about what integrity is and is not.
I write words for others to read. I encourage others to share my words or my message. I write because I want to share. That’s the whole point.
However, do I want others to simply take my words and pretend my words were their words? Of course not, but that’s what I inadvertently discovered had happened last week.
Every morning one of the things I always do is check my blog for comments. Some days there are some. Some days there aren’t. On this particular day, a certain trail led me to a “blogger” half way around the world where I made a discovery that
surprised enraged me a bit.
I saw my words on someone else’s blog. The names had been changed of course, as well as a few of the cancer details, but they were my words. It was a recent post of mine, nearly word for word. Even the title was the same.
I was stunned.
I know it’s naïve of me to think this doesn’t happen. I know it happens every day. But whether you steal someone else’s written words in “real life” or on the internet, it’s still the same thing.
It’s still called plagiarism.
When teaching, even my youngest students had a clear understanding of what it meant to “use your own words.”
The good thing I learned from this experience is that my on-line friends always “have my back.” I let a few of them know what I had discovered and they immediately sprang into action. They visited this new blogger’s site, read
her my words, commented, reprimanded her and yes, stood up for ME.
Once again I was stunned, but this time in a good way.
I want to say thank you to those friends (you know who you are). I also know others would have stepped up and done the same thing had they known and had the time to do so. I’m grateful for you all. I’m grateful for your integrity.
The mysterious blogger must have read those comments posted by my “word defenders” because almost immediately following their swift action, her new site was dismantled. It disappeared within minutes. Gone.
I wondered where she would go next. Would she just go elsewhere and attempt to “lift” someone else’s words? And what was her motivation?
After I had calmed down a bit, I thought a little more about the situation. I thought about integrity; that blogger’s and my own.
I realized perhaps I had over-reacted, and then again perhaps not.
I did feel badly. You see this woman had had a cancer diagnosis. On top of that she had also lost a son to cancer. That’s why she had discovered my blog in the first place. My blog’s focus is breast cancer and loss. In the heat of the moment, I lost sight of these things. I lost sight of her losses. All I could see were my losses. And mine were only words.
Then I felt a little guilty, but mostly I felt sad because I realized this woman would have been welcomed with open arms into this on-line cancer blogging community. We would have embraced her if only she had used her words. If only she had “blogged with integrity.”
She’s the one missing out and that makes me truly sad.
I hope if by some chance she reads my words here, she realizes this.
Mostly, I want to say we would probably still welcome her if she uses her words to tell her truths.
Kathi, one of the friends who “came to my rescue” and defended my words that day, summed things up with one simple question.
If we don’t have our integrity, what do we have?
I say without it, we have nothing.
What does integrity mean to you?
Have you ever had your written words “stolen?”
If so, how did you react?