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In August 2011, Miss India Universe Vasuki Sunkavialli came under fire for “twagiarism”, or plagiarism on Twitter. At issue was a series of seven tweets she posted, out of her first 29 to her account, where she appeared to copy, without attribution, from Wall Street Journal columnist Sadanand Dhume.

When the omission was pointed out, Sunkavialli said she didn’t feel she had done anything wrong and that it was exactly what other people did on Twitter. However, it was quickly noted that what she was doing was not “retweeting”, but rather, just copying and pasting without attribution. Eventually Sunkavialli and Dhume made peace, with Dhume saying that Sunkavialli could learn from the incident.

But while Sunkavialli may be one of the best known cases of someone being accused of “twagiarism”, she is far from the only one. Twitter is, if nothing else, a sharing culture. One where people post short messages, links, images, videos, etc. that they want to share with their followers.

However, the Twitter community places a very high value on authorship. Though sharing or repeating a message is considered a high honor, that’s only the case when it is done correctly and with proper attribution.

Long before Twitter added a “Retweet” function in 2009, Twitter users had created their own system for handling retweets, namely copying the earlier tweet and prefacing it with “RT @(username)” and sending it. If a tweet had to be modified, often for brevity, one could use MT, or “Modified Tweet” to indicate as such.

This approach stemmed from a grassroots effort by Twitter’s users, during the service’s earlier years, to find ways to share what others were saying while maintaining attribution and fitting it all within 140 characters.

In that regard, Twitter is a very interesting case study in how plagiarism and attribution rules form in a community. Though, to an outsider, it might seem as if Twitter is a place that plays fast and loose with authorship, it actually holds to a strict set of internal rules and routinely calls out those who violate them.

While this might give newcomers concern that they might be considered a twagiarist, it is actually easier than ever to attribute and reuse content correctly on the service. The Retweet function makes it simple to take an item someone else posted and redistribute it to your followers, all the while, keeping attribution intact.

In fact, to your followers, the retweet looks just like the original, with that person’s name and icon. The only indication it’s a retweet from you is in smaller text near the bottom.

By simply using the retweet function when you want to pass along someone else’s tweet to your audience, you can completely avoid any issues of attribution.

Still, the fact that the Twitter community so quickly set up standards for attribution, long before Twitter itself created the process, only serves to show how important attribution is, even in a culture that’s centered around open sharing.


How do I cite YouTube? [video]


Social Networking

Published on by jbailey.

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Any time an idea is borrowed from a source—like a newspaper article, a YouTube video, a tweet, or a class lecture—that source needs to be cited. But that's not all. The way citations are written is also important. Not only are there different citation formats to follow, like APA or MLA, but the citation of different source types, whether a blog post or a speech or a photograph, also vary, even if just slightly, e.g. capitalization. In this video, English instructor Renee Swensen explains citation styles and documentation, essential knowledge for any writer to have in order to avoid plagiarism. Watch the video:

How to Cite YouTube & Other Sources from Turnitin on Vimeo.


Citation Styles and Documentation: Avoid plagiarism by learning how to cite YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and scholarly journals

MLA, APA, CMS, CSE etc.  If you have heard of these before, you have likely been asked to write a paper using them.  What do these acronyms stand for?

Let’s talk about your different courses for a moment.  You might have an English class, a psychology class, or a history class.  Different courses are housed under different fields of study and different fields have different groups who meet to decide how scholarly writing in that field should be presented.

For example, English falls under the Modern Language Association, psychology falls under the American Psychological Association.  These associations have manuals that explain how papers should be written in those disciplines.

CMS is called Chicago Manual of Style, which a history course might call for or CSE for Biology and other science courses.

The trick with these documentation styles is realizing you don’t have to memorize the style, you simply need to follow the guidelines, and use these guidelines as a reference.  That means you might need to look this information up each time your write an academic paper.

Guidelines will specify how the paper should be laid out, such as spacing, margins, headers, page numbers, etc.  It will also detail how to document any outside sources you used in the paper, such as in-text citations, footnotes, works cited pages or reference pages.

Knowing how to lay out the paper according to the documentation style is one thing, but knowing how to cite sources is quite another, and usually the most challenging for students.

Let’s walk through a practice source and look at how to break that source down to determine what kind of citation I need.  We’ll use APA as an example.

The first thing you need to do when looking at a source, especially one you accessed online, is determine what type of source it is.

This source gives you some clues.  It is a double-sided page, has an abstract or summary, a list of references, the title of the source, the main source may even have “journal of…” or looks like it has a specific audience of scholars.  This is definitely an academic journal.  You need to be able to differentiate between a journal, article in an online newspaper or a blog.

In order to cite the source correctly, you need to look up the type of source in a reference manual, so you can see what information is required in the citation.  These manuals often contain model citations for you to follow.

For a journal article I need to be able to match the information in the citation example with the information for my particular source.

A citation for a journal article looks like this:

Author. (year of publication). Title of article. Title of Academic Journal. Volume (Issue), pages.

Author’s last name and initials, the year it was published, the title of the articles (not in capital letters), the title of the academic journal italicized, the volume number, the issue number in parentheses, and the page numbers.  Luckily, I don’t have to memorize all this, just match my source with this sample.

Cherrier, H.

The author of the article is Cherrier, H. The year, (2006).  The title is consumer identify and moral obligations in non-plastic bag consumption: a dialectal perspective.  The journal title is International Journal of Consumer Studies, the volume is 30 and the issue is (5), with the page numbers 515-523.

An MLA citation for this journal would have some differences, such as capitalized titles, quotation marks, etc., so you need to reference up your required documentation style to get it right.

Now you have to remember that if you borrowed any ideas from a source, like a YouTube video you watched, Twitter, Facebook or a class lecture, you have to cite that source in your paper.

How to cite YouTube

APA style:

Author, A. A. [Screen name]. (year, month day). Title of video [Video file]. Retrieved from http://xxxxxxxxx

MLA style:

Last name, First name. OR Username. "Title of Video." Title of Site. Name of institution or publisher, Day Month Year of publication. Medium. Day Month Year of access.

Just remember that you need to take the time to get your citations right to avoid plagiarism.

See how to cite other common sources, including: An interview; speeches and lectures, a painting, sculpture or photograph; films or movies; sound recordings


Citing and Quoting

Published on by tiimarketing.

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Social Networking

Published on by tiimarketing.

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If you’ve blinked in the past couple of years, you’ve probably missed what could possibly be remembered as the birth of social media. The internet experience as we know it has certainly changed. Some may argue for the better, others, not so much. However, what everyone can agree on is the impact social media is having on pretty much everyone with internet access.

Particularly for college students, social media has become a major part of everyday life. In fact, so many students use social media to connect with friends, share pictures or videos that it’s beginning to take the place of traditional hang out sessions. It seems like everyone meets online these days instead of at the mall, the movies or even study groups. As this new phenomenon becomes a reality, is it possible to improve grades using social media? Some people think so.

Social Media Dominates Internet Use

Mastersineducation.org recently posted an interesting infographic that took a look at the question of whether grades can be improved using social media. Whether you agree with the idea that social media can be used to improve grades in school or not, there’s no denying it has complete dominance over the internet. Facebook is the second most popular site in the world after Google, the search engine. Interestingly, according to statistics offered by Alexa.com, a large portion of those who visit Facebook are browsing from school. Other social media sites are not far behind. In fact, YouTube, a video sharing site with social media features, holds the fourth spot, slightly behind Facebook for most visited site in the world. The bottom line is that while the internet offers a plethora of information to users worldwide, activity on social media sites is consistently occupying the majority of user time spent online.

Studies Confirm Link between Social Media and Improved Grades

There have been numerous studies that look at correlations between grades and social media. In one study, students reported that through social media, they were able to independently create and participate in study groups with other social media members, improving grades. It makes sense, given the amount of time students spend visiting these sites. There’s even evidence to support implementing social media sites in the schools themselves to “encourage discussion on the material both inside and outside of the classroom”. After all, 96% of students surveyed use Facebook on a regular basis. Social media is certainly a valuable resource for at the very least, reaching students.

One of the most valid arguments supporting the idea that heavy social media use improves grades is the notion that by using social media, students are learning to relate their schoolwork to their own personal experiences. Described as a form of “active learning”, the idea is that students can relate what they enjoy doing or talking about with their class work, increasing interest and ultimately, improving grades.

While it may not be a proven fact that social media use improves grades, there is certainly enough evidence to support the statement that most students use it frequently and will most likely continue to do so for quite some time. How social media will impact the future and the classroom, we don’t know for sure.

Also read Plagiarism in the Digital Age [Infographic by Schools.com] on the Turnitin Community site.


“Infographic: How to Get Better Grades Using Social Media.”  June 24th, 2011. http://mastersineducation.org/infographic-how-to-get-better-grades-through-social-media/


Social Networking

Published on by davidr.

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We recently had an active discussion on our WriteCheck Facebook fan page about the quote, "If you copy from one author, it's plagiarism. If you copy from two, it's research", and who originally said it (including the source, of course!):

Below are more quotes from famous authors, artists and public figures who voiced their opinion about plagiarism:

"Most plagiarists, like the drone, have neither taste to select, industry to acquire, nor skill to improve, but impudently pilfer the honey ready prepared, from the hive." - Walter Colton Source: FamousQuotesandauthors.com

"What a good thing Adam had. When he said a good thing, he knew nobody had said it before." - Mark Twain (1835-1910) U.S. humorist, writer, and lecturer. Source: Proverbia.net

"There is much difference between imitating a man and counterfeiting him." - Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist and philosopher. Source: Proverbia.net

“To copy others is necessary, but to copy oneself is pathetic” - Pablo Picasso Source: Worldofquotes.com

“He that readeth good writers and pickes out their flowres for his own nose, is lyke a foole.” - Stephen Gosson Quotes Source: In the School of Abuse--Loyterers

“Intentionally using the quotes of others without author attribution is plagiarism and contributes to illiteracy.” - Rain Bojangles Source: Quotesdaddy.com

"Borrowed thoughts, like borrowed money, only show the poverty of the borrower." - Lady Marguerite Blessington, Countess of Blessington Source: Quotesincan.com

What's your favorite plagiarism quote?


Social Networking

Published on by tiimarketing.

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