Plagiarism is a curse on those whose work is stolen. But it's a bigger curse on those who are accused of stealing when they haven't. Especially when the topic is circumnavigating verbal ideas. Mind you, just words. Nothing has been created out of them. They are just thoughts, per se. How can one be so sure that a thought should never repeat? What exactly is an original idea? Simply because somebody thought of something before you did makes that thought patented to that person? What if somebody else had thought of it before that person did? At least that's what the fight is all about on a platform like Twitter where people wage day-long war against those who they call tweetchor. Most of these disputes revolve around jokes (yes, that's the biggest joke!).
First thing first, it's ethically wrong to lift somebody else's ideas and pass it off as your own. It is not only a disgrace but also silly to do so in the digital age where every little thing is on record. But here's the catch: Who's going to decide who is wrong? Also, can't two people have similar thoughts? When Darwin and Wallace could have resembling theories despite working at opposite ends of the world, who are we? When Marconi and Bose could come up similar wireless magics without ever knowing each other, who are we (again)? The point being coincidental ideas happen all the time. Just that we notice them in exceptions. When people are live-tweeting on an ongoing event, timeline is filled with similar sounding tweets. Nobody is copying nobody there. It's an exhibition of how mind reacts to a given situation. But this logic is not accepted on Twitter because people love pulling others down. The self-appointed vigilante would make their case by picking someone's recent tweet and juxtapose it with random old tweets by other people. The idea here is to prove that the recent tweet is a clear case of plagiarism. Well, it could be. There's no denying but at the same time, there are greater questions to be addressed.
What if it isn't a case of plagiarism? If so, aren't you doing a great deal of disservice to a honest person by flogging him in public? What if it is just a random thought which has no relation whatsoever to the earlier tweets? Do you give others the benefit of doubt that you so aggressively present yourself with? Do you put all your tweets under the same supervision mode that you put others? Is every single post of yours ever made so authentic that it has never been said before in the history of mankind? The greatest question being, who made you the judge? At the end of the day, it's just a bunch of words strewn together to made a sentence. That's what it is. Words. Borrowed by us from time to time. We didn't invent them. Poets did. Poets we don't give a shit about anymore. And we are talking about giving credit!
All things said and nothing done, to each his own. Personally, i'm perfectly alright with people lifting my tweets. They do that all the time on FB and Whatsapp anyway. One guy even had the audacity to mail me to inform that he has been "referring" to my blog posts to keep his blog alive. He was doing much more than referring. I choose to ignore because i don't have the energy or patience to fight a worthless battle. Forget words, i've come across Instagram accounts where i've seen pictures clicked by me. Since i have no fear of bagging the Nobel or Pulitzer anytime soon, i take it as a compliment.
Online or offline, one's conscience should be unblemished no matter what. I remember when i joined Twitter, i used to not only send "Hello there!" to the likes of Obama but also blatantly lift Internet lines for my tweets. Fortunately, i came to my sense soon (2010) and decided to stick to my lame stuff. Interestingly enough, that's also when my following spiked! People actually admire honest lame stuff. Yes, they do!
I posted this recently as a rebuttal to those who claim that my tweets blindly cross 1K. They don't. 20-30 is my average thanks to the negative publicity that rampantly goes on due to my self-imposed silence.
But something very intriguing happened immediately. An old tweet of mine suddenly crossed 1K, becoming my first tweet ever to do so.
And this tweet is plagiarized on a daily basis. It's tweeted every single day without fail with no credit showered whatsoever. No joke, this has been happening for months now. So, who is to be blamed here? This is why i believe that plagiarism is a conscious act with subconscious repercussions. There's no point in creating a ruckus. If a person steals, he'll acknowledge his unjust act someday or the other. But if a person is accused of stealing something he hasn't, then that realization becomes the vigilante's burden. Hence it's better to maintain silence and overlook acts of verbal transgression. Attention is the biggest commodity nowadays and if you are giving it to conducting a trial where your expertise is limited to Twitter search bar, then you are basically fooling yourself. There is a world beyond Twitter. And more importantly, there is a world beyond the English language. Not all thoughts are thought only in English. Do you cross-check in every single language out there?