Silver Lining: original vs stolen blog content: which is it?

July 8, 2013

original vs stolen blog content: which is it?

First of all, blogging about blogging is something I swore I'd never do. Too cliche, too weird, too much of a novice to claim to be an expert. And I'm a firm believer that with blogging (like with all types of authorship), rule number one is that there are no rules.

That being said, I'm going to talk about what I swore I wouldn't :) Let's talk about the rules and guidelines of blogging for a little bit. One rule in particular.

I have a dilemma. I'll get a great post or series idea, only to have someone else beat me to the punch. I have this good original idea, but then during the time it takes me to take the pictures or make the graphic or write the post, it pops up on someone else's blog. (Whyyy, that someone else, whyyyyy??) 

What should you do when that happens?

Do you post it anyway and run the risk of looking like a copycat?
Do you delete it and never share that great idea?
Do you ask the person for permission to post just because it's a similar topic?
Do you take it as a sign that your content's not original enough and throw it out?

I personally err on the side of publishing my content anyway. One could argue that, in this age with two million blog posts published each day (source), truly original content is few and far between. I also make sure, if a similar post has been published recently, that mine looks and reads differently. 

That being said, there's a cute blogger out there who redid her blog design to almost match exactly my last blog design. It was kind of cute, and funny, and weird all at the same time. And it would have been less weird if she had left a comment saying that my design inspired her to redo her blog, or linked to me saying she got her ideas from me, or something. Unless she came up with the exact same color schemes and ideas independent of my blog?

Confessions: I have saved drafts similar to this, this, and this post by some of my favorite bloggers. They're all done and ready, but I haven't published them because I don't want to look like I'm copying.

I want to hear your take. 
Is there an unspoken rule about posting something similar to what a fellow blogger posts? 
Has someone posted a "copycat" post after you did, and how did you feel about it? 
I'd love your input!


  1. yours is the only blog i read, so post away :) I won't know. As far as I know nothing on your blog is original... ;) Maybe it isn't even you that writes this blog. I bet it's Sam-bam.

  2. AnonymousJuly 08, 2013

    Girl I felt the same way when 2 girls from my ward stole my exact wedding ring that was custom made. One even had the nerve to ask where I got it, but not to tell me she was getting the same one. UGH. But c'est la vie. It's just hard when you have AWESOME IDEAS! ;) But I say, if you have a good idea, share it! And haterz gonna hate no matter what.

  3. I say post away! In the end, you will put your own spin on things. I am always getting ideas from other bloggers, but finding my own way to put a spin on things!

  4. AnonymousJuly 08, 2013

    Post it anyways - but maybe email the blogger.

    Once I posted an almost identical post to someone else, unintentionally. I emailed the other blogger explaining it wasn't intentional. I never got a response, but at least I cleared my own conscience.

    We're all reading the same blogs and finding inspiration in similar places, we're bound to write about the same things or have the same interests as other bloggers. As long as your intentions are pure, you're fine no matter what you decide to do.


  5. AnonymousJuly 08, 2013

    Post it. Everyone is inspired by everyone. I have come to terms with that. But because of that, I have decided not to do flashy designs on my blog anymore and I just type. I don't do ideas and what not. I just talk about what's up that day ;)

  6. i'd say post it. unless they actually inspire the post, then i wouldn't link back or bother to mention it to them.
    i once had a blogger claim that an idea of mine had come from their blog, but honestly i never read their blog.
    they confronted me and explained myself, but i didn't care, i knew it was my idea.
    honestly if they something i think thats kind of weird.
    because you honestly never know if they even saw what you did to influence their idea.
    sometimes it even makes me flattered.
    so i wouldn't worry about it lady.


  7. Great post!I post it anyway. I don't think enough people read my blog to notice:)

  8. AnonymousJuly 08, 2013

    I would say post away, but I am definitely not one to know the ins and outs of blogging rules ha ha! I would post it, and if I thought it would rub someone the wrong way I would send a shout out to the other blog just in case.

  9. Blogging is one of the silliest things to ever grace this planet. We shouldn't take it so seriously. I say post it anyways! :)

  10. I say post it. You can mention it in your blog post that you saw it elsewhere as well maybe? I mean we all don't read the millions of blogs out there so how can we know what every single person posts about?

  11. Sometimes it truly does happen that different people independently come up with--but I think that most of the time, individuals put enough of their own unique spin on an idea or a different conclusion that someone else might come to. A long time ago, I wrote a post about about why I think saying "A woman without curves isn't a real woman." isn't right. I don't remember seeing any articles like that before then--but since then, I've come across many similar posts, some written before mine and some written after mine. In some ways, I think already thinking/having written about the subject makes you more alert to seeing the same subject talked about in other places.

    Also, if I truly did see word-for-word, obvious copies of my work, that would be very upsetting.

  12. go for it girl! i would LOVE to hear your tips for instagramming! because if i'm really honest, it's nothing that i invented on my own. :)

    you have such a sweet heart to even be this considerate. cheers for that!


  13. I don't think there are particular rules. I think that giving original sources to images or links is important, but content (if it's not completely plagiarized), is fine to post something similar. It's good to be courteous to other bloggers out there, but just publish whatever you feel like publishing and make it your own. Everyone has something unique to say if it's similar. Go for it! And thanks for sharing!


  14. I say post them. As a food blogger I am getting a lot of ideas from other blogs, and I do hate when I think I have this genius idea that is so profound and then somehow like 4 other bloggers post the same type of recipe right as I'm doing mine. aagh! but its not like you copied them. Blogging is going to have a lot of the same ideas, but put your spin on it and your good!

    1. Yes, I'm so jealous you got to see Elise (who I went to jr high with!) and those other fun bloggers. I haven't met Nichelle or the others, but it looks like you had a blast. Thanks for speaking sweet words about me. You are awesome.

  15. AnonymousJuly 09, 2013

    I feel like a lot of people blog because they are inspired by others or because they want to inspire. As long as credit goes where it is deserved there are no rules :)

  16. oh my gosh, i love this. i have so many drafts, it's ridiculous. so post, my dear, post them all!! :)

  17. post them! i think so because most of your followers may not follow the person who stole your idea. i wanted to do a post about summer date nights. i had been getting a huge list and a ton of pictures and then another big blogger posted it and i was super bummed because i had worked hard on it. but i think im going to post it but just wait a while before i do so they dont come out at the same time.

  18. I say post em as well! I've had times where I have an outfit in my drafts for a while, then a blogger posts a SUPER similar outfit before I do!! It makes me mad, haha, but in reality, it WAS original. So I say do it. And about the similar blog design... UGH that has happened to me as well! And I was pretty offended because it was like EXACTLY the same. So I changed my blog design and name right after that, because I want to be original. haha. There are way too many bloggers for everyone to be "original" you know? Crossing paths in similarity is inevitable!

  19. post away :) although i would make a note at the bottom of it saying "found this post online after i wrote this and wanted to share" or something like "great minds must think alike because i came across this recently" just to cover your bases.

    and i'm home

    and my sisters leave thursday afternoon
    so friday morning skype? that wasn't a question, it was more of a statement.
    and by statement i mean demand.

  20. oh such a great topic! I was just going to say how much I love the new blog design!

    I agree with you on that there really isn't too much that is "original" now days. Unless someone is copying what I write pretty much verbatim I can't get mad about it. We live in such a wealth of information and a wealth of visuals that I can't see how stuff doesn't get copies. Where did the font come from on your blog? If it's a pretty open site like picmonkey then I don't know how much you can say about it. If it's a totally obscure font or one you made yourself... then yes I would be more disturbed. Also I think your blog design is basic enough that someone could pretty easily "accidentally" copy it. I'd be more worried if it was really elaborate but because you are more simple it's pretty easy to do the same thing. If it's really bothering you I would just ask her straight up just to get it off your back. I have a tendency to let those things fester and frustrate me and in the end I'm the only one who's hurting over it.

    Love you Brookie!

  21. Post it anyways! The blog world is so big that someone is always going to have something similar to what is on another blog. I started "The Story of Us" series over a year ago and saw that a couple other bloggers recently started doing the same thing in the same format, I just went on over to their blogs and read them and really enjoyed them! Then I commented with the link to mine for them to check it out :) I suppose I could have been irked about it...but it's blogging. We can't take ourselves too seriously!!


  22. With my first real blog design I had someone copy it almost exactly... I wasn't happy. I would have felt much better if they would have said "you inspired me" or "had the same idea, promise I'm not a copy cat!" or something like that. It's so hard, there's no way that NO one else in the world hasn't already thought of that original idea we get sometimes. It can be frustrating but it is what it is. :)

  23. I don't think I've ever had someone copy something that I've done. And I have never intentionally stolen someone else's blog posts/ideas/design. But it would be so frustrating! I have to say, I LOVE that you always post questions at the end of your posts and if you don't mind, I might just have to do that one of these days! :]


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