When I watched The Social Network, I couldn't help but feel mixed emotions about Mark's supposed statement in mediation, "You had an idea, I had a better idea." So was it inspiration or stealing that spawned the world's largest social network, Facebook?
Then we discover the Ning Network, where you can get your own social network in their system and customize it to suit your needs. Groups from crafters, homemakers, homeschoolers, to blog networks of all sorts. Then there's Tumblr, Twitter, and Google's Buzz. I wonder if Flickr got upset with Tumblr for the unique use of the lower case 'r'. As it is, Mark goes after anyone who seems to have anything remotely similar to something Facebook offers. (Sorry, Mark, but you don't own the word 'book' in a compound word format) Who's going to try to sue the Butterfly or the quarterback?
Do you know how many social networks there are out there? How about we attempt to count how many blogs there are. Last I heard there are approximately 80,000 blogs built DAILY. Do you know how many newspapers there are? Does the very first newspaper own all rights to anyone who wants to begin their own newspaper company?
Then we have the ever so popular concept of the Group Blog, Online Conferences, Widgets, and online photography schools.
Each company does it's best to create innovative ways to reach their target audience. Some bloggers even teach you how to do certain things to build up your blog and network with others. Some offer this information for free, while others charge you money. I think It's rather odd that someone would charge people admission to learn something that's already available for free in millions of places on the Internet. But they do.
Some are quite successful at it, others not so much. It depends on your angle, your motivation, and what your inspiration is. If you are simply COPYING what someone else is already doing, it's called theft. If you're INSPIRED by a collection of many different things that forms something NEW in your mind then you have something unique. Ever see Working Girl with Melanie Griffith? Her boss tries to steal an entire idea from "Tess", but the board of directors asks Tess what her inspiration was. After their private conversation, they asked her boss, "Katharine" what inspired her..she couldn't answer them. Consequently, Katharine was fired and Tess was offered a better position in the company.
We all learn from one another and help build one another up. When someone takes an idea from someone and copy it, run with it, and try to say THEY created it, is a serious matter. I recently offered a Blog Button Swap. I offered this swap to the first 15 people who agreed to the swap. I do NOT 'own' the idea of a blog button swap. So, if others want to offer the same thing to their friends, they are free to do so. But if I was to share with a few people some specific plans that I have, invite them to join in, they agree, and one of them runs with that idea and launches it before I get to launch my idea..well that's just flat out underhanded.
I have no desire to call out anyone specific, I have far too much on my hands right now to deal with more bloggy drama. It just puts me back at the drawing table to make my idea even more unique.
By the way, Mark Zuckerberg lost his best friend. He may be a brilliant young man, but he wasn't honest with his friends. He may be an extremely wealthy person, but where does he store those riches at the end of his life? Does building up your blog community come down to your race to become popular, stepping all over everyone in your path? If that style of blog building gets you a following, then you can have that following. I'm aiming at something far more profound than creating a get quick rich scheme off other blogger's ideas.
So where do you draw the line between what is authentic inspiration and flat out theft?
Chime in..everyone gets the soapbox on this one!
Link up Get Related to The HomeSpun Life
My Royalty Free Shared Photos