I recently came across a well-written blog post about how it's not ethically right to plagiarize tweets. I agree for the most part that we shouldn't lift creative materials blindly without bothering to give credit where it's due. It's a terrible way of getting by. Getting inspired is one thing and stealing, quite another. However, one should avoid this malpractice for two major reasons:
1. You wouldn't want THAT to happen to you (at least in the online world).
2. You don't really want to be seen as a prick (at least in the offline world).
Having said that, i still feel that tweets don't fall under the category of art. Tweeps aren't artists by any yardstick. Who coins words anymore? Twitteratis may claim expertise in wordplay and instant humour, it'd be preposterous to put them in the same category as someone who dedicates oneself to a particular stream of creativity. Tweeps are way too random and spontaneous in comparison. And that's how they are supposed to be! See something and post something about it in not more than 140 characters. Minute in and minute out.
But plagiarism is a touchy as well as a vague topic and sometimes, we have the following order of situations:
a. You post a tweet and somebody points out that it was already tweeted earlier, specifically suggesting that you must have copied it.
b. You don't know how to respond to it because it seems like you have copied a joke (of all things!) when you don't even remember reading it earlier. To you, your tweet dropped straight out of your head.
c. Interestingly, the person claiming that you plagiarized has fewer followers than you and is crying foul how twelebs (twitter celebs, whatever that mean or entail) rob the non-twelebs (although they can't wait to turn into twelebs) of fame and prosperity that timeline was originally designed for.
d. On one hand, the person is claiming that his tweet doesn't get the exposure it SO deserves and on another, he also points out that somebody more exposed than him has stolen his line.
e. Now, the question is "How the fuck is that even possible?" when the claimant is basically contradicting himself.
This is why i feel the whole practice of screaming "Yeh pehle ho chuka hai"—whenever a tweet reminds someone on Twitter of something they'd already read before—redundant. Does it really matter? I don't know about you but my tweets mattered to me a lot about 4-5 years ago. Not anymore. I don't give a click who copies my lame one-liners. In fact, i feel good to know at least somebody cares enough to steal my unhealthy body of words (which i didn't even invent in the first place). Aren't we all borrowers of words?
Anyway, that's me.
To each his own, as they so like to preach. But then, what's the point of quarreling over a sentence or two when there is so much more going on? As we tweet, books are being written. Not to forget pieces on how it's easier and worthier to plagiarize a blog post than a stupid tweet.