Brawn Media Blog

Safely Navigating The Digital World

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Creative professionals all have one thing in common, they need to make sure their reputation for creativity is original and top-notch. I remember, years ago, when Carlos Mencia was called out for being a “joke thief”. He had recycled a variety of other comedians’ routines, and lost his credibility within the industry. 

In order to avoid Mencia’s path, I have outlined the following tips to keep your reputation intact as a professional who creates, modifies, and shares content online.

 

Credit Your Sources, Even on Social Media

There may be a temptation to be cavalier if you’re using social media as a venue for sharing your creative endeavors. However, do not let your guard down because fans of your work (or potential customers) may not find you credible if you did not give credit where credit was due.

If you’re sharing someone else’s work online, reference where you got it from. For example, on Facebook you can tag the individual in the comments area whose work you are referencing. With Twitter, you can hit the retweet button or use the type out “RT” if you choose to copy and paste. 

If you are citing an academic source, following the MLA or APA style is a great way to keep your reputation bullet proof when creating content for a more serious audience.

 

Research Resources 

As an example of giving credit where credit is due, below is a list of resources I referenced when writing this blog post. The sites will provide you with more in-depth examples of how to do citations on your own.

How to Cite Sources & Not Steal People's Content on the Internet by Corey Editon
Cornell University Library's Citation Guide


Using Other People’s Photos Properly 

I remember years ago meeting an artist who drew Nintendo characters in ink drawings. I asked him, “How, legally, are you doing this?” He responded by saying “75% of each drawing was changed, so there’s no lawsuit.” Nintendo probably has an army of lawyers on retainer who are just waiting to go 15 rounds with someone who is profiting off their intellectual property. Chances are you are probably asking for trouble if you are reproducing someone else’s work without permission. 

 

How to Make Your Artistic Life Easier

  • Ask Permission to Use an Image - Sounds crazy right? If you saw an image that you like somewhere on the web, and you want to use it, you should reach out to the person who created it. You might even get lucky and they’ll let you use it for free!

  • Invest in a Stock Photo Service - I’ve seen a variety of stock photos. Some are great, and some are not. I would advise shopping around and taking a look to see which ones suits your needs best. Two Popular sites are Thinkstock® and Lightstock®.

  • Make Something on Your Own - Maybe it’s time to put your artistic muscle to use. Maybe you have a camera of your own, or are really good at drawing. If you go either route, and play around with a photo editor, you can easily create something that can help you get your point across.


The Most Important Thing of All - Be Creative 

“Imitation is the purest form of flattery,” a quote we can attribute to Charles Caleb Colton. I also think that imitation can be boring. You can use other people’s stuff left and right, and make the proper attributions, but at the end of the day, you have to do something NEW to wow the public. 

I’m going to make my point by critiquing director Quentin Tarantino. He often makes “Tribute Movies” that imitate popular genre films of the past. I found them to be novel and fun at first, but after a while they became background noise to me. I felt like the formula for one of his films boiled down to this: Random Genre + Lots of Dialogue + Over The Top Theatrics = New Movie. Basically, once I saw one movie, I kind of saw them all. 

It’s not a bad idea to work with a formula that has given success, but try to do something new. People won’t pay attention to what you’re doing unless you’re innovating and presenting new, refreshing angles. 

If you create original work and rely less on modify or sharing what has already been done, you will get a lot of attention along with a sense of accomplishment. 


 


Written by James Novak, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Specialist at Brawn Media. Learn more about him here!

 

 

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