Oh here we go again. The Internet Image Cop is astride his high horse and galloping through the online festival while popping everyone's balloons.
When I see images shared online without any links or names back to the creator, I can't help myself. I try to find the image using Tineye.com or Google Reverse Image Searching, but I also want to know why someone skipped the credit.
We could actually have a creative economy and have sharing online at the same time. But the whole effort collapses when people skip credit.— Glendon Mellow (@FlyingTrilobite) July 5, 2015
The sentiments I tweeted yesterday are ones I have said in various online nooks and crevices before, including from on top of the Symbiartic blog mountain.
Can you imagine if I just started tweeting witty, excellent lines of #scicomm blogging without links or credit? "I found it on Tumblr"— Glendon Mellow (@FlyingTrilobite) July 5, 2015
Quick scroll thru Twitter or Tumblr will reveal tons of images shared without credit or links; very little quotes/journalism without links.— Glendon Mellow (@FlyingTrilobite) July 5, 2015
Why repeat myself?
Repeating my advocacy for good image use/credit in #scicomm due to continual influx of new people is fine. Repeating to allies, frustrating.— Glendon Mellow (@FlyingTrilobite) July 5, 2015
Image creators are treated like an endless resource to be strip-mined. But plagiarism of words and everyone has a hot take on the badness.— Glendon Mellow (@FlyingTrilobite) July 5, 2015
@FlyingTrilobite many Internet users seem to think art/images are just magically generated by the hive mind as a free resource for all— Rebecca Cohen (@GynoStar) July 5, 2015
It's hard for me to see how sharing an uncredited, cool image you "found in the depths of Reddit" across Twitter and Facebook is anything less than self-aggrandizement for a personal brand. It's done to enhance the value of your own social media persona by silently saying "I find and share cool stuff so I am cool" to your followers.. It's bad curation, since we're all using that word to annoy librarians and museumologists now.
Throw the barest meat on the smallest bone back to the creator: keep their name and link with images you share. Tag their Twitter account.
For what it's worth, I dislike myself when I start charging in on that horse as the Internet Image Cop. I feel trollish. But calling out bad behaviour online - in public, so others can see and hopefully learn - is one of the best defenses artists have against bad sharing. And if other people can fill comment threads by pointing out typos and grammer errors, hot damn, I'm gonna call out poor image use. Yes, there is a spelling mistake in that last sentence and it's bugging you isn't it. Welcome to my world.
Clearly, I will need to do an updated "how to reverse image search and give proper credit"-type post. In the meantime, memorize this post on Compound Eye. And here's a quick tip to ensure someone like me doesn't come along the next time you share some interesting image and pop your balloon:
If you are sharing an image + link, you have ~95 characters left over. Plenty of room for @ credit to image creator. Or tag the photo.— Glendon Mellow (@FlyingTrilobite) July 5, 2015