Simple Blogging Tips: Do Not Steal! Do not plagiarize or copy another blogger’s content or images

by Paris B on · 44 comments

in Musings,Simple Blogging Tips (for beauty bloggers),Tips

blogging thief Simple Blogging Tips: Do Not Steal! Do not plagiarize or copy another bloggers content or images

This is a cardinal rule in blogging. Not just beauty blogging, but blogging in general. In fact, this is simple ethics, manners and something we should have all learned in school!

Do not steal.

Do not copy or plagiarize another blogger or their blog content.

Do not use another blogger’s photos without proper credit.

A blogger’s blog is an expression of their thoughts and words. They work hard on deciding the words to use and the manner and style of their language and content. They work hard at taking their own photos, setting up the shot, making sure everything fits their blog and blog post.

When someone steals this content, its like stealing a part of your soul. In school or university, if caught plagiarizing text or content, you risk disciplinary action. So, what makes you think its alright to do it online, in your blog?

For many, plagiarized content or text isn’t something that is easily spotted. If you skim though a blog or just visit it for the first few times, you may not notice plagiarized content or stolen photos. I do not mean a blog comprised of stolen content, spam blogs or splogs. I mean genuine blogs, with primarily original content, but with little bits here and there, tucked away in little corners, bits of text that have been subtly lifted off other blogs, photos intentionally reduced in size so watermarks aren’t obvious. Little things.

As I’ve noted, the majority will not notice it. You will only do so if you have first read it on another blog, or if (horrors!) its your own. I sometimes find it disconcerting to see my own words leaping at me from another page if I come across a plagiarizer. Its like seeing your laundry hanging in another person’s garden.

I was alerted twice : Once to a blogger who reproduced my Sephora Starhill overview post in its entirety, and another to a reproduction of my Hada Labo review; but in both cases, they included some of their own photos and made minor tweaks here and there. It was surreal and probably the worst cases I’d come across to date. If they could include their own photos and take the trouble to tweak the text, why couldn’t they just write their own post? Mind boggling.

I know most of the bloggers reading this post will not be guilty of this. If you are, then shame on you! icon razz Simple Blogging Tips: Do Not Steal! Do not plagiarize or copy another bloggers content or images But lest you think I’m just coming over all possessive, my point is that it comes down to respect. You do not respect someone else when you copy their hard work and pass it off for your own without proper credit and links.

If you like someone else’s quote, by all means, quote it (not copy the post in its entirety) but please link back to the original blog post or blog that you extracted the quote from. If you like someone’s photo, use it but use it in its entirety – full size, watermarks intact and with proper link credit.

If you are unsure, ask the blogger if they mind you using their photo. Few people will mind but all they will ask for is a link back. It does not cost you anything but it will gain you the respect of the blogger you linked to. It might even result in your blog being discovered and shared by the original blogger.

Link Credit should be clickable

My general rule of thumb is that if you are linking to a blogger make sure the link is clickable. Blogging is a community project and a non clickable link is quite selfish. A proper link should be clickable like so “This photo can be found at its original post on My Women Stuff“. Some people consider a non clickable link sufficient like so “This photo can be found at its original post on www.mywomenstuff.com”. I say it isn’t. That is insincere because you don’t make it easy for your reader. There are times when a non clickable link is useful but when you link to fellow bloggers in a positive way, my rule of thumb is that it should always be clickable.

Whatever you do, image and content theft is never an option.

Good on you, if its not discovered. But once it is, respect for you goes out of the window. I am sure I do not speak for just myself.

So, if you blog, think about what you want to say, formulate your own text, and be inspired by others; but do not copy or plagiarize their hard work. Or if you do, just hope you do not get caught for woe betide you if you do icon razz Simple Blogging Tips: Do Not Steal! Do not plagiarize or copy another bloggers content or images Bloggers don’t forgive easily and believe you me, they talk.

Have you come across anyone copying your content or stealing your images? It happens more often than we imagine!

I don’t go all out to check for stolen images or content but sometimes I’m alerted to them by readers or friends who happen to come across it. Today’s tip is just a warning and reminder to anyone wanting to get on the blogging bandwagon. I happened to come across a rather creditable blog recently that had an image taken from my blog with no credit. I know my own photos and I know my own flooring quite quite well. My image of said blogger plummeted faster than the stock exchange during the Great Depression. Dealing with it is a tip for another day icon smile Simple Blogging Tips: Do Not Steal! Do not plagiarize or copy another bloggers content or images

Paris B

Simple Blogging Tips are some simple tips I have for fellow bloggers, based on my own experiences. I’m no ‘guru’ but I hope they will help you. You may read up on previous Simple Blogging Tips here or please feel free to ask your question in the comment box or in email.

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[ 44 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

Joy Chong
Twitter:
August 17, 2012 at 9:12 am

Allot of people seem to be doing it on Instagram now. It’s really very annoying

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Paris B
Twitter:
August 20, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Huh? People steal photos on Instagram? How do they do that?!

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Joy Chong
Twitter:
August 22, 2012 at 9:14 am

Easy, they copy your picture and re post it as their own.

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Joyce August 17, 2012 at 9:13 am

*sigh* This topic really gets me frustrated! I don’t understand why people can’t just take 2 seconds to add the source and credit the rightful owner. Google is not the rightful owner and I’m sure all those thieves out there know that too. They are just being (1) sneaky, (2) deceitful and (3) just don’t want to give proper credit. If they can take 2 seconds to copy the image and write that “google” is the source, then why can’t they take 2 seconds to copy the direct source link and paste that underneath the image? The fact is that those thieves don’t want to direct people to the rightful owner and it’s not really because they’re lazy.

Sellers on ebay and members on Luuux do this frequently, which baffles me.
Joyce recently blogged…Swatches + Comparison: Urban Decay New Reformulated Eyeshadows 2012 (Part 2)My Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
August 20, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Oh yes – Google. I see it all the time and it irks me too. If they could copy the image, they’d know exactly where the image came from and Google is NOT the answer :P Some people are nasty and selfish and really, that bugs me too!

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Tine
Twitter:
August 17, 2012 at 9:22 am

It’s bad enough when people lift images from websites, it’s worse when they steal the image, crop out the watermark, and claim the image as their own. I’ve also seen brands (one of them is a very big and popular cosmetics brand too) stealing pictures from bloggers (Temptalia was one of them) and used them in their newsletters without credit. Worst of all, the bloggers didn’t even use any of their products in the pictures!

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Paris B
Twitter:
August 20, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Oh yes. I’ve had the whole cropping out of watermark done to me too by a seller. How much integrity does that give you when found out?! Terrible. I think established brands who do it without sanction are as bad if not worse – using a blogger’s picture without royalty and hoping not to be found out? They gotta be mad.

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Jenn
Twitter:
August 17, 2012 at 9:29 am

“Do not steal. Do not copy or plagiarize another blogger or their blog content. Do not use another blogger’s photos without proper credit.” +100! If a beauty blogger can steal pictures / text and pass them off as their own, I seriously question the integrity of their reviews too!

I’ve had some bloggers / blog shop owners steal my pictures before – some even removed / photoshoped my watermark away! I don’t know if I should be infuriated by their sheer audacity, or admire their determination. Remember my old lipgloss tube watermark? I always place it in between stuff and one such thief even took the time to photoshop that away! Amazing the patience these people have – with so much effort and time spent you would think it would be much easier taking their own pictures instead! :P
Jenn recently blogged…Jenn Asks: What is your favourite food? :DMy Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
August 20, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Urgh! I feel your pain, Jenn! I remember your lipgloss watermark and that’s not something you can just crop out! As you said, these people are better off spending that time in a productive manner by a) actually owning the product and b) learning to take a photo of it :P

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lazeny August 17, 2012 at 9:42 am

I can’t resist mentioning our local Senator lifting entire paragraphs from a US based blog and using it in his speech on the Senate. With no attribution. The Senators staff eventually admitted copying from the blog, after a local group pointed it out and it spread like wildfire in social media.

Needless to say, everybody was quite disgusted, as the Senator denied allegations of plagiarism. And the Senator’s staff was “forced” to admit, and had the audacity telling the blogger that there was no malicious intent and injury, and they thought she would be all happy about it. The bloggers response was priceless. It was all our local blogosphere and media talk about.

Here’s the link about the whole brouhaha, and the comments are entertaining. http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/on-plagiarism-the-pill-and-presumptuousness/#more-10342

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Paris B
Twitter:
August 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Yikes! That’s awful to know its going on at that level without sanction!

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germs August 17, 2012 at 10:11 am

great post – i feel your pain! sometimes wonder why people don’t bother taking their own pictures if it was just something straightforward, e.g. a lipstick. most of the time, these plagiarizers don’t realise the severity of their actions, i.e. violating copyright laws. you’re nice enough not to name and shame them, Paris.
germs recently blogged…Estee Lauder Double Wear Concealer – Could it be the One?My Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
August 20, 2012 at 5:43 pm

If I’m really pissed, and particularly if its text, I usually issue a take down order or better yet, if they are hosted on Blogger, Tumblr, Wordpress etc I just contact the host directly, fill up the take down form and get the results I want ;) No point naming them unless they are doing the same to others (usually can see if they are) because that just sends them traffic hehe…

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Ting August 17, 2012 at 10:52 am

Sadly, there is no harsh measures to internet plagiarism. I guess the best way is to educate people about the courtesy of giving credits to original author and hope that this get across their brains, like what you are doing here. :)

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Paris B
Twitter:
August 20, 2012 at 5:44 pm

You’re right Ting. The internet is so big and wide no one can police it. We just have to know ourselves, what’s right and wrong and it troubles me that the lines are getting more and more blurred by the day…

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ProudMummy
Twitter:
August 17, 2012 at 11:11 am

I’m not a blogger but I hv an online biz. I’m pretty new to this and had no idea these things happen. I was shocked to see a competitor plagiarize my Page description. It was obvious bcos her grammar went downhill when she used her own words. Initially I was livid. Not anymore. Kinda flattered that something that came out of my brain was copied! The same seller also provided a link to my product review to anyone inquiring about her products to show how expensive my products are compared to her’s. Well, it worked against her as the publicity helped my business!
But I can totally understand if I was a blogger and writing a review. it would make me mad.

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Paris B
Twitter:
August 20, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Gosh! Firstly, that was pretty silly strategy of your competitor to send you business LOL! Anyone who then went to your site would see the similarities and people know from their gut feel which site to purchase from, even if pricier. I know I would because I don’t trust many online sites and blatant copy is theft. What’s to say they won’t make off with my money ;)

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Janie August 17, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Paris please post the thief’s website link here and let us handle them

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Paris B
Twitter:
August 20, 2012 at 5:47 pm

LOL thanks Janie :) I’ve dealt with the ones that I know stole my content – I just usually get the blog or blogpost taken down ;) No need to send them more traffic than necessary LOL!

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Jyoan August 17, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I hope I haven’t accidentally forgotten to make some links clickable! hahaha.

Way back then when I first started out, I always use stock photos of products because I didn’t have a camera. But because I was in uni (busy writing all sorts of reports), I think the habit of crediting sources just came in naturally for my blogging. There is this heavy sense of guilt if I don’t state my references.

After that, I started using handphone camera, and finally invested in a good camera for my blog. That not only takes the burden off remembering to quote and link, but it also empowers the blogger to really show what he/she wants to show from the angle he/she sees things. So there is actually far more pros than simply not violating copyrights, for people to be original.

Like you, I don’t understand the need to copy, especially in the case that you mentioned, the person bothered to make her own inputs. Why not just do it 100% original? haha. don’t understand.
——-
Nowadays, I sometimes do google my own images, just to check if it has landed up somewhere else, because I don’t watermark. LOL, I know it’s like waiting for a time bomb to go off. =PP Bad practice. I am just waiting for the moment someone steals my images to start watermarking. =PPP This is very bad.

But yes, I think I will be as angry if I find my photos or writeup being used without credit. Like what you said, the posts don’t drop out from thin air. It was crafted after weeks and months of testing, not to even mention the actual time spent on penning down one’s thoughts. Some of the writings take more than a day to finalise before publish. How maddening it totally can get when people just lift off another blog.

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Paris B
Twitter:
August 20, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Like you, I can’t begin to imagine either why someone would copy a text wholesale but then try to tweak it. I can only think of laziness and non existent ethics. As for watermarking photos, I think its a matter of preference. I see that many big blogs dont’ watermark their photos and I see their photos used all over the internet to sell stuff or on other blogs. I don’t know how they keep their sanity after all their hard work!

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LeGeeque August 17, 2012 at 1:41 pm

I feel your pain. It’s not merely about respect. It’s also against the law and I’m certain if the case was serious enough, the perp can be brought to court. It’s really common sense. You don’t steal a bottle of milk, you don’t steal content. Fin. The fact that this post has to be written has made me lost all hope for mankind

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Paris B
Twitter:
August 20, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Indeed! Photographers have demanded for royalties and maybe this should be what we should do this time instead of issuing a take down order. Send a bill instead :)

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Ling
Twitter:
August 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm

I know your pain…except I don’t think a blogger has stolen my content…but a stupid auto-bot blog has stolen my feed so whenever I post, it posts too…my content!!!! And I have no idea how to shut that blog down because Google/Blogger are so bloody unhelpful and won’t help me at all. Sighs..

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Paris B
Twitter:
August 20, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Damn the autobots :P That usually happens with splogs (spam blogs) and they usually steal from the feed but are smart to only take an excerpt because that way they can say they aren’t copying. They are just taking an excerpt and if your blog link is in there somewhere they’d say its sufficient credit. Its a fine line. So what I do is insert my blog name and assert my copyright at the top of my blog feed. This way if they choose to steal my feed it says it belongs to me ;)

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Ling
Twitter:
August 22, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Funny how I said that I havent found a blogger who copies my stuff…until I was alerted today!!!!!! OMG! A whole chunk are my words!!! What to do?? I guess I can’t do anything but it pisses me off!

Also, stupid autobot copies my entire blog post! ARGH!

Anyway, thought I would rant to you…thanks!
Ling recently blogged…Revlon Inspires The Best Beauty Blog Nail Enamel Trio Set – perhaps coming soon to a store near you?My Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
August 27, 2012 at 10:19 am

Argh Ling, so sorry that its happened to you! I would suggest you take it up with the host if possible. If hosted on Blogger, I find that they are quite quick about taking down copied material. Otherwise, try to find out who the host is and lodge a copyright infringement complaint with them. As for the autobot, the solution (which isn’t terribly popular but is sometimes necessary) is to limit your feed subscription to show only summaries. This way, whatever they copy is just the beginning bit. Not the best solution but sometimes, we have to do what we have to do. Hope you get it resolved!

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Sharon August 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I have a friend who STOLE my photo from FB and posted on her FB! Seriously! I mean the picture itself with the ppl at background and things on the table are THE SAME.

Sigh, why are some people like that? If you can’t afford to travel and check in or post pics while overseas, then DON’T do it. What’s the point in pretending to be at that certain country? Crazy? Perasan? Jealous because I travel alot?

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Paris B
Twitter:
August 20, 2012 at 5:55 pm

What the… *speechless* That is almost identity theft!

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Stacey
Twitter:
August 17, 2012 at 3:16 pm

I think pinterest makes copying of images even more prolific as it gets pinned and repinned, and without due credit too.

I have yet to discover anyone copying my blog though. If possible, do share the link of the thief’s, I am curious to see how it looks like.
Stacey recently blogged…MAC Mineralize Eyeshadow Quad for Fall 2012My Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
August 20, 2012 at 6:01 pm

You are right, Stacey. Pinterest does make it “ok” to use another person’s image without credit. I’m not too familiar with Pinterest myself (barring registering my username LOL!) But I do see that clicking on the image usually leads you to the original website it comes from. Personally, I think that with Pinterest becoming popular (and because we can’t control what gets pinned) watermarking has never been so important! I don’t want to send more traffic than necessary to the sites of people who steal things (unless there’s lots of theft going on) and for text, I usually get the blog or blog posts taken down. Its the most effective way :)

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Isabel
Twitter:
August 17, 2012 at 3:31 pm

I don’t understand people who copy blog posts.. What do they get out of it? The readers aren’t following you for your content. You didn’t write it! Should you even feel good? @_@ As for photos, I’m guilty for taking photos from websites but I do credit the source. If you’re using a photo because it’s pretty you should share the source cos people should know the ‘artist’ behind it.
Isabel recently blogged…Veet Hair Removal Cream for Dry SkinMy Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
August 20, 2012 at 6:03 pm

It puzzles me as much as it puzzles you Isabel! I sometimes think its to bring more traffic and to generate income. Money is the root of all evil, including blogging :P

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EL August 18, 2012 at 12:42 am

I’m glad despite all of this you haven’t disabled the right mouse click function, irks me to no end. My observation is that it’s usually the beauty bloggers who do this.

/Start rant
1) just because i right click while I’m reading your blog doesn’t mean I intend to steal your content. You instantly get a pop up message screaming ‘DO NOT STEAL MY CONTENT’. Heard of tab browsing?!
2)I just need to go to settings (if I can be bothered) and disable javascript
3)It’s so easy to print screen these days

end rant/

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Paris B
Twitter:
August 20, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Oh EL I couldn’t because the disabling of the right mouse click is a pet peeve of mine too! I like to open a new tab for a post that interests me to read further as I go along and if I see that “Do not steal my content or images” popup, I sometimes never go back to the blog. I’m quite ruthless that way LOL! Thanks for bringing this up! :)

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Swati
Twitter:
August 18, 2012 at 1:42 am

absolutely right, Paris :) and, its very easy to skip noticing the plagiarized content unless its our own…its happened with me too but I really didn’t feel like pursuing the lady coz it seemed too petty on her part!! but, yes, when it happens in majority, then one has to take action. and, in fact, I think it takes equal time to copy and tweak and wrote original content!!!
Swati recently blogged…Chocolate Sugar Body Scrub {DIY}My Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
August 20, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Hey Swati, if you don’t want to confront the perpetrator and you know the content is copied off your website you can just contact the host directly. If its Blogger they will look into things. I’ve gotten blog posts taken down for copyright infringement :) You can also report it to Google Adsense if they run adsense ads ;)

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Juan
Twitter:
August 18, 2012 at 10:54 am

tak payah say plagiarise… i use people’s hand in my blog post pun i still credit the person in the photo, with the link to their blog summore ;)
Juan recently blogged…YADAH – Korean botanical skincare with natural ingredientsMy Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
August 20, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Haha good girl :)

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fairytalesandcoffee August 21, 2012 at 6:51 am

It’s funny that you should write about this because I have found some prominent bloggers images on smaller blogs from other countries. They didnt even bother to photoshop the watermark out. It was plainly there. I find this is likely common with English literate individuals in foreign countries where it is not the dominant language so they blog in their native language lifting everything else. It is pretty simple.

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Ashley August 24, 2012 at 5:08 pm

You’d think that crediting another person for their work (ie. pictures, words, ideas) is common sense but apparently not! Perhaps the problem is that some bloggers haven’t been taught how to “properly” credit their sources but then again, aren’t all people taught how to credit their sources in academic courses? I think of each person’s blog post as an essay of sorts. If you are mentioning or using someone’s work, you make and use a works cited/source list which in blogger equivalency would be hyperlinks or disclaimers. Simple as that right??

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Paris B
Twitter:
August 27, 2012 at 11:01 am

You’re absolutely right, Ashley! I don’t understand why people think that just because its online, its alright to steal and not fear repercussions :P

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Vera June 1, 2013 at 3:36 am

I first started blogging in my college years (about 10yr+) in a private site with private communities. Really enjoyed it back then but stopped due to 3 reasons which expose the dark side of the Internet.
1. Since I’m a Comp.Sc student, I used to store my thoughts, research, graphics, codings & etc. in it. Even back then, I’ve bookmarked my artworks but my junior took my work & EDITED off bits & pieces but not smart enough to edit away my “signaturebookmark logo”.

I was devastated & confronted him. I thought of him as a junior, a little bro., someone who lived in the same neighborhood as me but all I am to him is a “resource centre” & he said “I should feel privileged that my e-cards was even published out to the audience in the first placed”.
The thing was, I made those e-cards specially for my special friends. Even wrote there with the Birthday Messages & poems of my own.
Lesson: Everything put on the Internet isn’t secure. Trust is sacred word.

2. The second tragic thing was, some other group of radical friends found out via other friends that a classmate of mine is gay. So they started all the negative talks & insults.
Lesson: Internet Bullies Can Be Very Painful, especially when I don’t know how to protect & stop it.

3. Back then my online friends like to share pics. some of it with me in it. I played this online game & some how there’s this guy online who ended up stalking me & he harassed me to go out with him else threatened to edit & expose my photos., verbally harassed & sexual harassments. He always leave crazy messages. I never gave him my contacts, my photo., no nothing at all. Didn’t even friend him. Back thn there’s no Cyberlaws or Internet Protection Laws in Malaysia yet. Eventually I closed my blogs & deleted some online accounts.
I found out how he managed to detect me & every time I confront & scold the hell out of him. He “breaks” down & plead me to friend him & all the crazy psycho talks. Yup, he even created FEMALE online accounts in order to dig info. about me.
And later I found out, I wasn’t his only target. Other girls were also bothered. He loves “playing he petbrother” or “hero” to young girls. Back then I almost set up a date to slap his face for real, but when I found out he’s seriously tall, big & he has a black belt in karate… I chickened out LOL. My guy friends wanted to beat him up, but I didn’t want them to land in jail. So slowly I disapearred & covered myself with reality & work work work..

Lesson: The lyrics from “Santa Monica” sang by Savage Garden describes it all…
“But on the telephone line I am anyone
I am anything I want to be.
I could be a super model or Norman Mailer
And you wouldn’t know the difference
Or would you?”

So there :D that’s the real reason why I just couldn’t find any reasons to continue blogging for real. LOL. Nowadays, I write randomly in Facebook & other people’s blogs/sites.

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Paris B
Twitter:
June 2, 2013 at 11:06 am

Hi Vera, Wow, just wow. So sorry to hear of the horrible experiences you’ve had with online publishing. I have to admit its always a gamble putting oneself out there which is why when I decided to put a face to the blog, it was a tough decision to make. But I try to keep other aspects of my life private. No need for people to know more than necessary :)

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