Last night, I used the Twitter search bar to find an older tweet of mine. I typed in “pin two tweets to your profile” and the results were pretty boring, but as I scrolled down the list, I saw that a couple of people had plagiarized my tweet.
The first one I noticed only had maybe 100 followers, and another had a few thousand, but only printed half my tweet, and I didn’t care. I generally don’t care about people stealing my tweets, and I’ve never done anything about it when I’ve noticed it.
As I kept looking for my original post though, I noticed another guy had copied my tweet earlier this year (shortly after it had a big run of retweets among tech people), but what kind of annoyed me was that he had 12,000 followers, he was a professional developer, and he even had some mutual followers with me. You sort of except lame theft from random people, but this for some reason annoyed me.
I replied to him with a link to my tweet and a “??” and kind of expected him to just delete his copied version, but he just faved my tweet. In the meantime, I looked through his timeline briefly and he clearly just stole 50% of his tweets, but had dozens of people who kept retweeting him or saying “lol bro” to him or whatever, and for some reason this irked me.
I find plagiarism to be really bad and dumb, and I honestly can never even begin to understand the mindset behind people who do it, especially when they do it regularly. It’s bizarre how many media people seem to build decent careers on it, and then for some weird reason, even after they’re repeatedly caught, they rarely get totally disgraced, and quite often don’t even get fired from their jobs (see Fareed Zakaria and Margaret Wente).
When it comes to Twitter plagiarism though, I don’t normally get too wound up, because the perpetrators are usually just goofballs who nobody reads, and the complainants often get way too wound up and try to fire up big campaigns against them. The only case I can recall really caring about on Twitter was that guy Sammy Rhodes (aka Prodigalsam) who a completely crazy case – the guy built up a huge Twitter following by stealing tweets, but it took quite a while before people really started making a stink about it, and then when he was totally caught red-handed he acting completely weird about it, like denying it and saying he was “paying tribute” to the people he stole from or something.
It was completely weird, and super, super hilarious for a little while. The guy just got skewered so much, and it was blatantly obvious that nobody bought his story, but he seemed to really believe it or something. What was even funnier was that he’s some sort of religious minister, so he’d also be throwing in tweets about doing right by God, etc. So that was a hilarious situation, and when he finally “stepped away” from Twitter, I ended up getting blocked by him when I did a photoshop to make it look like his goodbye tweet was plagiarized. His “step away” didn’t last very long, he somehow still got a book deal, which is a weirdly common phenomenon with these guys (see Jayson Blair, Josh “The Fat Jew” Ostrovsky, and I’m sure several others I can’t recall).
So back to the other night: I wrote another couple of tweets to this guy saying “Hey could you delete the tweet maybe?” or words to that effect, and he kept passive aggressively just favoriting them. So honestly, I am pretty ashamed of this, because it’s pretty much a really, really, really, really lame move, but this guy was bugging me so much, I did another tweet mentioning the business he worked for (in his bio), just like “what do you guys do?” and he just faved it, and again didn’t delete the tweet, so I wrote again and was like “You’re an SEO business, is mass plagiarism a good strategy?” and cc-ed the business name.
I honestly feel really dumb about this, and I don’t even know why I’m writing this post. It was an extremely weenie move on my part, just soooo lame. Sometimes the dumbest things get me mad though, and then I feel terrible later. A few weeks ago, I was driving home from a grocery store and at this one really tricky stoplight, a driver ahead of me stopped and let about 4 people turn in front of her.. it’s hard to describe the situation, but it was very pointless, she saved them like 8 seconds, but made me and her wait another 2 minutes. I honked at her while she was doing it, but afterwards I felt extremely bad, and then I had to do the thing where I drive slower than her for the rest of the way until one of us turns, because if I pass her it would be awkward.
So my point being, I should be ashamed, but also the guy did delete his account immediately afterwards, so I deleted my tweets and I’m assuming nobody at his business saw them at around 11pm on a Tuesday or whatever.
Update: The guy waited 2 days, reactivated his account, blocked me and didn’t delete the tweet hahah. These guys are so weird, it honestly just puzzles me, it’s just so odd. Like if I got caught doing this, I’m sure my first move would be like deleting the tweet, and then I can’t think of what else I’d do, because who spends their life just stealing tweets of all things haha, it’s soooo weird.