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November 3, 2012

The Cruel Side of Craft Blogging

I have been extremely vulnerable the last couple days about blogging and I decided it's time to just get it out in the open and clear it off my chest.
I love blogging! It brings a sense of fulfillment to my life outside of being a Mother and that is something that I really need in my life. Things have seemed to be going quite well for me with blogging until a couple nights ago right before bed I got my very first hate comment...Shrug!..Sigh... It wasn't one of those "I hate your blog" kind of comments but rather the "Shame on you for not citing a source when you should have" kind of comments. Yes, the word shame was actually used in the comment and it spiraled in my mind ALL NIGHT LONG! I would be lying if I didn't tell you that at first I was really mad about it. First, the comment came from a no-reply blogger which left me absolutely no way to reach out to this person via email. Second, this person doesn't have their blog listed on their Profile so I have absolutely no way of even finding them and finding the post that I should have cited. Lastly, though I was and am completely guilty for not citing the blog where I saw the idea, I have never been able to find said blog to give a correct source. The source I have is a Pin on Pinterest the leads to an errored page on a website, and every other pin for the same image goes to that errored page. (Note to self: Next time, just source the Pin!!)
So despite my feelings of anger which, to my benefit, I feel are very valid reasons to feel frustrated,  I decided to put myself in their shoes. I have been there people...I have been on the other end of this spectrum visiting a blog that either didn't give me credit for a craft that was my idea or did a poor job at giving credit (like I saw this craft on this one blog, instead of actually stating my blog name). I have even been to blogs that completely re-used my tutorials even though I strongly say in my disclosure that I don't want them to do that. It sucks being on that end! It sucks feeling like someone else got all the credit for your idea! 
It has left me wondering, how many other mistakes have I made? How many other people have I offended? Should I go through all of my over 300 posts to make sure I didn't do anything wrong? How do I make sure I don't make a mistake again?? This my friends, is the cruel side of blogging. If you get yourself wrapped in it, blogging will no longer feel fun anymore. If you get caught up in spending all your time being angry about who stole your idea, or who is getting credit for your idea, or worried about who you are going to offend, then why even blog? The cold hard truth is that all of us craft bloggers get our inspiration from one way or another. Whether it's the illustrations out of a popular children's book, a magazine or book, someone else's craft blog or Pinterest, you are more than not taking someone else's idea and putting your own spin on it.
And can we please mention the fact that if you are displaying your stuff on the World Wide Web, isn't that an open invitation for people to make your craft. Your blog post is saying, "Hey, look what I did....This is how you can make it too!"
Instead of focusing on who "stole" your idea, I think it should be a celebration of who loved and embraced your idea enough to make it themselves. Seeing that others are making and enjoying what you created is the JOY in blogging. It is what makes me want to keep creating! For that reason, I want to thank you as a blogging community. THANK YOU for continually inspiring me through your awesome crafts and fantastic pins on Pinterest!! Thank you for anyone who has loved my crafts enough to re-create them with your children or students or grandchildren. (In no way am I saying that it's ok to just steal people's ideas as your own. That's not ok people!)
Since blogging is this virtual World we sometimes forget that there are very real people behind the scenes. We all have strengths and weaknesses and we all have very real problems in our lives...Blogging is something we love and enjoy but it doesn't define who we really are. If we really knew each other on a personal level, if we really knew the face and person behind the blog, I have a hard time believing we would be so hard on each other...We are all going to make mistakes blogging and that's ok. It is human nature!
And since I have no other way of contacting them...
Dear Trent Family,
Please accept this as my sincere and open apology for not giving you credit when credit was due. I honestly, whole-heartedly feel terrible about it. If by some miracle you are reading this, please email me your blog address so I can fix my mistake ( I hope my failure has not made you feel hatred toward me. I really do want to make things right.


MaryLynn Phillips said... Best Blogger Tips

Sorry you had a bad night with swirling thoughts. I've been there. It's like one of my bosses used to say "all we can do is to try to do better", a quote I go back to frequently. I like all your stuff :)
A devoted reader.

Camille said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Rachel,
I am sending you a virtual hug. I don't think you need it anymore because you have come to terms with what happened. Please remember all of the positive comments you have received and know that you are LOVED!
An Open Door

Janiene Bishop said... Best Blogger Tips

Rachel, you are my first friend via blogging and I am here to tell you that you are amazing! I have followed you for over a year now and I can tell you how talented, smart, wonderful, sweet, and incredible of a blogger you are! As to the no-reply comment, do not waste another thought on them! Really, there are no new crafts in the world. I love the verse in Ecclesiastes that says "there is nothing new under the sun." Yes we should give credit to where credit is due, but that blogger should do the same. Every time I think I have a creative and new idea, I go check on google & at least a hundred other bloggers have done it (and photographed it amazingly). So I put my spin on it, hang it up in my house and call it done! Your kids are blessed by a Mom that loves and inspires them. And I am blessed and inspired by you. I want to say congratulations for making it this far in the blogging game before coming across a negative comment - that is success! That means you have great stuff! Big hugs to you! Keep blogging, we need you!

Leslie @ Violet Imperfection said... Best Blogger Tips

You very eloquently just put into words my blogging philosophy, I put my blog name on my pictures but after that if someone steals my tutorials or pictures so be it. There is only so much I can do. On the other hand I try my best to give credit where credit is due,

This past week I was trying to come up with an original Thanksgivng craft and I kept going back and forth. Finally I said I haven't seen it before, I am sure someone has made it before but I am going for it.

I love this post. Thank you!

Jackie said... Best Blogger Tips

I too am sorry this happened to you. Why can't people start out assuming it was an error and kindly ask for credit. I have also pinned things, or downloaded printables and used later only to realize the link on pintrest doesn't go anywhere or just to a photo, or the printable has no name/copyright on it. This is frustrating in a couple of ways because the people who read your blog want to know where you got it, and we would like to give credit. I have many times used a printable and have no way of giving credit because there is no name on it.

I also understand that copyright is a big issue, one that is commonly ignored in the blog world even among those who themselves make printables to share and are quick to defend THEIR copyright. People who purposely take others hard work are the ones that should feel shame, not those who try very hard to give credit where credit is due.

I am glad you are settled in this, I wish I could be at such ease with people taking something I created and claimed as there own. I do think we put things out there for others to be inspired by and even copy but they do need to give credit. I know you would have if you could have, I am a long time follower of your blog, and notice that you always do this.

I am inspired by your crafts that you do with your kids, and have many pinned to use with my grandkids. Thanks for sharing all your hard work, I know that doing it and blogging about it IS hard work. But the kids are well worth it. Keep it up!

artsy_momma said... Best Blogger Tips

Well said Rachel! I too have come to terms with people not citing their sources properly b/c sometimes people don't fully understand what they are doing is wrong or may have seen it on another site that didn't source properly. It's unfortunate that people have taken your tutorials and didn't rewrite them in their own words :( You are soooooo creative and have gorgeous crafts!!! I hope that future comments like that don't discourage you in any way because you are an awesome, inspiring blogger & mommy :)

Sara Ballard said... Best Blogger Tips

When I first started to read this post it broke my heart that someone was cruel to you. I don't know you personally but I follow your blog through email and truly love your ideas and inspiration.
As I continued to read your post I think you brought up some great points about blogging and our new world where everything is shared on the web. I especially liked how you brought up that creativity is most often spurred from something else that is already out there. It is all about sharing. Thank you fro the reminder to us all that it is always good to cite a source.
Just wanted to let you know I think you and your blog are amazing! Keep it up!

Betsy said... Best Blogger Tips

Rachel, I agree with your post 100%. I have learned a lot about blogging etiquette since I started my blog a year and a half ago. I, too, often wonder if I should go through all my old posts to make sure I did everything right so I don't offend anyone. If I think of a craft to do with my class, I often google key words to see who else has done it. And if a hundred other people have, I shouldn't feel like I have to credit someone. There's always someone who could say, "I had that idea first!" (Of course, if I see a craft first and then get inspired, I always give credit. There is a difference, I think.)
Just keep doing what you're doing, Rachel, because I love your blog. You have inspired me in so many ways!

Mommy of Many Hats said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you for writing this post. Honestly, I'm new to the craft blogging word. I have my personal family blog, but it wasn't until this past year that I started home schooling my children and using a blog as my record, lesson plans, portfolio for my kids etc. Being new, I'm very unaware of rules in regards to citing other people's craft ideas etc. I've been working hard to get better at it, since I've realized they need to be cited, but you mentioned few things in your post I was unaware of. I have tended to say, "If you want the directions, click here," and then highlight the word "here" with the link. I try to mention as often as I can, that I don't come up with my own ideas. Anyways, I just wanted to thank you for your sincerity and also the explanation!

Jamie said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi, Rachel! I came upon this post via Twitter and am now following your blog. I'm sorry you had to experience such harsh criticism, but I'm glad you are going ahead with your blog, and I'm looking forward to reading about your craft projects.

Since I use my own photos, I don't have the problem of citing them through another source, but I do make sure to link to any additional information that pertains to the blog post in case my information is wrong. So far, I have not been "called out", but your post has made me me more conscious of my research. Thanks!

Rachel@I Heart Crafty Things said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks so much for you comment MaryLynn and for being a devoted reader! I love that quote from your boss. Definitely going to move forward from this with that in mind.

Rachel@I Heart Crafty Things said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks so much for the virtual hug Camille! I definitely felt it while reading your comment. :-) Thanks for the reminder to not stall on one bad comment when I should be focusing on the positive ones. Returning the virtual hug!

Rachel@I Heart Crafty Things said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks Janiene! I love you!

Rachel@I Heart Crafty Things said... Best Blogger Tips

After this experience I've learned that all we can do is just try our best like you said. I only recently started putting my name on my pictures. I sometimes wish there was a "Blogging for Dummies" manual that I could have referred to when I started out. Oh how many things I should have done that I didn't... Oh well!

Rachel@I Heart Crafty Things said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks Jackie! Blogging is definitely hard work and I know from visiting your blog how hard you work at it too! You are an amazing Grandma and I hope to possess the same qualities as you do when I get to be a Grandma. Thanks for stopping by and being such a devoted follower. :-)

Rachel@I Heart Crafty Things said... Best Blogger Tips

PS- I love that scripture!...And I still find it odd that I've never met you in real life because I feel like you are one of my best friends.

Krissy said... Best Blogger Tips

Very well said. I recently found your site via google. I was looking for fall crafts for preschool and found your "fall tree craft" which I love! I pinned it for later and it is getting re-pinned like crazy! I currently started blogging again after getting a very rude and hateful comment within months of starting my blog. People can be so hateful especially the unknown. I realized that I didn't start blogging for approval but for myself and to document the things that I love. Thank you for this post and the inspiration to continue on!

Smallgood said... Best Blogger Tips

As an educator and future librarian, I get the need for citation and intellectual property. I get it, but people make mistakes. We are all guilty. I think it makes far more sense to politely tell someone and instruct them rather than leave a nasty comment.

Craft blogging can be ridiculously territorial, and then there are all those crafts that you may have been inspired by but didn't bookmark or pin. It happens. And ideas are not copyrighted anyway.

So keep rocking out.

Whatever Dee-Dee wants said... Best Blogger Tips

Let me just tell you that I think are awesome and wouldn't think you would ever do something like that on purpose. In blogging, it happens. I am sure I have made plenty mistakes like that but when I do I prefer people let me know nicely :)

Esther CraftoArt said... Best Blogger Tips

Just now read your post! that's so sad to get a rude comment. The people never think before they comment. According to my understanding nobody can own a creativity. We will never know whether the craft was a inspired craft or it came from their mind.

I wrote a post of a craft i did with the kindergarten students and mentioned about ur blog. My daughter's teacher loves ur site.

Dr Sonia S V said... Best Blogger Tips

So glad I dropped by your blog---such a well written post Rachel and it echoes how most of us crafty bloggers feel I guess!
Cheers from India

Melissa said... Best Blogger Tips

Great post and at least your weren't really all that "guilty". I was contacted by a man who designed a logo that I had just used off of a Google image search (from someone else who had doctored his work). This was literally 4 days after I registered my domain and a full 2 weeks into fancy blogging. I was SICK over it. He threatened to sue, he reported me to Google, he put my blog on his FB page and basically called me a stupid mom blogger who was stealing his work. It was horrible. The point of the story is I DID go through all of my old posts (from a different blog before I started caring) and took down any posts where the pictures were mine, gave better credit, ect. It was worth the time because now I don't have to worry! Google has a way of finding just about anything, even if it's old to you!

amber said... Best Blogger Tips

I commend you for being bravely transparent and for being willing to extend grace to the one who berated you! I sincerely believe we could all use more transparency and grace in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Thank you for inspiring others of us to do the same!

Sell...Party Of 5 said... Best Blogger Tips

This is one of the reasons why I wouldn't ever be a good craft blogger...also another reason why I have completely stopped pinning stuff on Pinterest. I go and look at Pinterest, I do the crafts, but I won't repin anything. Sad, but true...people get all crazy if the wrong person gets credit, and so now I just go with the no one getting credit for it. :(

Love you. You know this. Oh, and when you start getting mean comments it when you know you have hit it big a job well done!

Kara said... Best Blogger Tips

Just know that you are an awesome blogger. You have inspired me in so many ways!! I know it is easy for me to say, but don't let one comment get you down. Anyone who reads your blog regularly or knows you personally, knows that you would never intentionally steal someone's idea. I know you give credit all the time when you can. Keep up the great work!! I love reading your blog!