A “Cheat Sheet” To Keep You From Plagiarizing

Last week, some news broke out in my little microcosm of the fitness industry where a certain “doctor” was exposed for stealing the content of a coach.

And when I say stealing, what I mean, is that either the doctor himself or whoever he has handling his Instagram account completely swiped the content of a coach in the industry with little to no change in the sentences or wording and posted it as if it were his own.

According to the coach, it’s happened several times and the doctor in reference has blocked him so as not to have to answer for his actions.

I’ve never understood this.

Yes, I understand the ease with which you can swipe someone else’s content.

Yes, I understand that creating content can be time consuming.

Yes, I understand that some people aren’t terribly creative and would rather someone else handle that work for them.

What I struggle to understand is that every day we (as health professionals of all kinds) are in countless situations where we might have to share wisdom about health, nutrition, medications, mindset, emotions, injuries, sets, reps, calories, bloodwork and more and we have to do it with the knowledge in our head at that moment in time.

Say for instance, a client comes up to me and asks: Jason, how much protein should I be eating in a day?

My reponse to that client is the perfect solution to creating content: How do I express a way that a given person can estimate their protein intake?

That answer can come in the form of a Tweet, a video, a blog, an Instagram reel, a Facebook post, a podcast episode, etc.

Done correctly, that answer can provide content for all of those platforms so that the creator can use and reuse content over and over again.

So, while it’s unfortunate that a doctor with a following of 2.1 million people on Instagram alone has chosen to rip off the work of someone who’s followed by a fraction as many people (but who nonetheless can speak and create content in a way that resonates with many), there is no legitimate reason why they can’t take a few moments to be original.

Yeah, it’s time consuming.

And maybe, said doctor wouldn’t have landed so many followers if they had been creating content with their own voice.

But in a world that’s increasingly creating content with the use of artificial intelligence, maybe I’m just a purist because the only voice you’ll ever get from me is mine alone.

Be original and if you can’t be original, at least give credit to people who make great content by sharing it, not stealing it.

(Photo courtesy of Etienne Girardet)