Plagiarism for the sake of Personality

A few days ago, a striking piece of investigative journalism on BuzzFeed revealed Khloé Kardashian has been consistently lifting her entertaining questions from Yahoo! Answers, without naming the forum as her source.

Hey, the competition for the attention of her millennial fan base is fierce. The internet is full of entertaining personalities, and most of us follow several. Chrissy Teigen, the ever-charming model, foodie, TV host and half of one of the internet’s most popular couples, is undeniably a social media personality competitor that captured the attention of many. Her authentic voicing of favourite foods and hilarious thoughts is enticing to others who are building or sustaining a following based on persona. Who wouldn’t want to make people laugh and smile in under 140 characters? It pays. In followers, in partnerships, and, almost most importantly, in fan admiration.

But, when competing in personality, authenticity is key. The internet is full of watchdogs. Social media influencers have been caught, and slapped on the wrist for lifting content without crediting. The harm to their personal brand has not been notably large, and even in the case of Kardashian, her brand will thrive on, but not all have hit “too big to fail” statuses and the risk should not be taken.

The case of Kardashian-copied content is a great one for brands and social media specialists, alike. The lesson: internet users will discover when you are inauthentic.

A fresh, authentic and compelling brand voice is currency in social media. When finding your community managers and content developers, look for great writers and creators who can take your brand voice and tell great stories. This will be your best investment in your social strategy. That, and buying the coffee that fuels them.