Sharing Is Caring

Today, I’m talking about sharing. I mentor women who are creative and healing entrepreneurs, so this is a topic I see all too frequently. Bear with me as I look at this important topic from several different viewpoints.

Let me first point out, that none of us create success in a vacuum. It’s impossible, since life is not a vacuum but an interweaving holographic energy experience. The most successful people understand how important it is to support others.

Even if you have not dealt directly with your potential clients, they feel you on an energetic level through your website, social media interaction, resource materials, products, services, and by how they observe you treating others.

My second point is that creative entrepreneurs (artists, designers, writers, etc.) get the word out about their skills by sharing their work online through their website and social media. The value in sharing is having people find out about them, contact them, visit their site, and ultimately, buy their work.

So, when others share a creative’s work online, it can potentially help get the ‘word out’.

That’s a good thing, right?!? Well, it depends!

Sharing is (Not Always) Caring

Once creatives upload files to their portfolio, website and/or social media, the file is then picked up by search engines for dissemination. The creative’s contact information is lost, and sometimes people download the image to share separately and fail to credit the artist.

The creative only benefits when people make a conscious decision to also share the creative entrepreneur’s contact info (web, portfolio, or social media link/s) when they share. Otherwise, it’s just another random file with an unknown source.

The internet, particularly social media, has made it very easy to blindly share visuals without crediting the artist or providing links back to the creative. The excuses for not giving credit are many…and they are bogus.

The image at the top of this post is a perfect example.

Artist, Martina Hoffmann created this gorgeous image of the hummingbird, and she shared it on her facebook feed. It also appears on her website portfolio. Search engines picked up her image, and people who saw it began sharing the image.

You can see why: It’s gorgeous, great colors, beautiful flow, nice composition, many layers of meaning embedded in it, has a hummingbird, etc. It’s easy to see why people would love and be drawn to this image!

Problem is, without sharing who created it, the artist has no way to benefit from the sharing. No one will visit their site, or refer others, and no one with know where or how to buy the image. The link between the creative and the work is lost, and the point of sharing the image is invalidated!

It would be best for all involved to become aware of this issue, and take the time to credit the creative whose work they share.

Insult to Injury

When professionals PROMOTE their own services, products, and/or professional image share a creative’s work without crediting them, it really adds insults to injury. They are receiving a benefit by sharing the creative’s work (catching people’s attention), but then failing to give credit where it is due.

Now, some would say this is a legal offense, but I would go further to say this is an energetic offense: How can you expect people to VALUE YOU and what you offer, if you are not willing to VALUE OTHERS? That is energetically out of balance, out of integrity.

I first saw this beautiful hummingbird image by Martina on a social media feed from a “spiritual teacher” who was promoting her ‘love is all that matters’ image and way of seeing the world. The image caught people’s attention, and they flocked to LIKE and comment on her post, visiting long enough to read what this teacher had to share. I know, because was one of them!

Then, I dared to ask: Who is the artist? Because that information was not disclosed.

What ensued was…the reason I am writing this post:

The “spiritual” person sharing the image said they had no idea who created the image. I found the answer in less than 30 seconds, and shared the information in the thread. Rather than immediately ADD that credit information to the post, the “spiritual teacher” said they just didn’t have time to find the creator of every image they shared.

I privately messaged her to consider what message she was sending by failing to honor the person whose work she had grabbed for free to promote herself.

She then deleted her post and blocked me. I guarantee you that the people who witnessed her unwillingness to credit the creative, even after given the information, realized something about this “spiritual teacher”…and energetically, the message was not a good one.

Interesting, isn’t it?!? That a person who teaches connection and love and kindness flatly refused to take 1 minute, or less, of her time to honor the creative (credit the work shared), wouldn’t even do it after she was directly provided the information, then blocked someone who suggested she *walk her talk*.

Now, you may say: “It was on the web, so it’s fair game.” NO. It’s only on the web because a search engine crawled the file on the web. Humans download and share without crediting the originator, so the original source is lost…unless someone goes looking for it.

“Does it really matter that we credit creatives?” YES. Creatives who can’t make a living doing their creative work have to stop, and work somewhere that pays them enough to survive. They have bills to pay, too. It is worth a minute or two of your time to ensure that a creative is properly credited for work you are sharing, whether it’s for the joy of sharing or because the work catches people’s attention long enough to hear/read the message you have to share.

Found an image or video you like, but not sure who the creative is? Here’s where to start your search:

Either of these sites allow you to upload an image or point to a URL. Facebook image URLs appear ‘hidden’, so you must download the image first, then upload to the reverse engine search. Here are two to bookmark:

Google Image – often the fastest, but not always the most accurate. Click on the camera in the search bar to upload an image or point to a URL.
TinEye – will show you the FIRST time it was crawled on the web, and where, which gives further clues.

Using one of the above links, the VAST majority of the time, you will find the creative source in less than 1 minute, but occasionally you need to do further searching.

For instance, I found an adorable GIF animation, but when I searched I couldn’t find the origin of the original art. A still from the animation proved that the art came from one creative and the animation came from another.

Facebook allows people to grab another person’s video and post it as their own. This is why so many are now putting their URL and/or logo directly on the video.

Start, first, searching the subject of the video in your search engine. Those who take videos sometimes rename them according to the subject versus the original title. You may see several variations of the video, and have to check dates and length to determine which one is the original. Once you find the earliest version, look in the description box which often contains the creative’s original contact information.

I’ve found videos shown on Facebook that originated on Vimeo, and Vimeo videos that originated on YouTube. Be patient, and focus on the subject. You’ll be amazed how much information you can find when you bother to look!

Just Ask!

I am not saying to forever stop sharing beautiful images and videos that you like. What I am saying is: CREDIT the creative when you share! LOOK for the creative’s contact information when you want to share the image. Take one minute to reverse-search, if necessary. Once you know who the creative was, CREDIT THEM in your online posts.

When someone else shares it from you, make sure that the creative’s credit goes along for the ride. (Add it in your comment to the share.) Look out for creatives the way you would want someone to look out for your creative efforts.

Creatives want to get the word out and share their work online. If you ASK THEM for permission to share and credit them, most will be THRILLED and happy to let you share! Many will even, if needed, provide a higher resolution of the file you are requesting. I’ve never had a single person turn me down, when I’ve asked and offered to credit them.

This is what I have done with the image above. I saw it unfairly shared without credit. The person who shared it was not willing to credit the creative. I reached out to the artist and asked permission to share in this post. Permission was granted, she told me which link she preferred, and then I wrote this post about this topic. The creative is benefiting, now, correcting the wrong that was previously done.

Energetics of Sharing

When you honor and value others, you send a message to the Big U that you appreciate honor and value. When you give credit where it is due, people remember to credit you, when it is due. It truly is a give and take, and the Golden Rule in action: Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.

Sounds like karma or ‘what goes around, comes around’, and it is…and it is also about personal integrity. YOU know when you are not in integrity. Your lack of willingness to honor, value and give credit will ensure that you are not honored, valued, or given credit.

Whether you bought a royalty-free stock image (majority of images on this site are bought, others are created by me, or used with permission of the creative) or got permission to use a creative’s image, give credit!

If you care enough to share, care enough to credit the creative!

If you are a creative, ask people to credit you and provide them the links you want them to share—social media, site, portfolio, etc. Give them one that will point to the others.

Appreciate everyone who credits you and other creatives. If you see others sharing work that is uncredited, ask who created it. Increase awareness that the best practice is crediting the creative when sharing their work. If they don’t know and you have a minute, search and share the information, yourself.

While the one situation I shared above was an exception, MOST of the people with whom I share the creative’s information will immediately amend their post to include the credit.

This is how we share with integrity, and creatives support each other.

Image credit: Martina HoffmaNN

Appreciation: Express Yourself!

First, I got confused, and then I started noticing a pattern. And it’s a good one, in my ever-so-humble opinion!

365 Thank Yous by John KralikOne of my Quantum MasterMind clients recommended the book, 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life by John Kralik. Prior to writing the book, Mr. Kralik found himself at a low point in nearly every aspect of his life. He realized that it might be time to start focusing on what he could be grateful and appreciative of rather than all that was going wrong.

This book chronicles his journey writing Thank You notes every day for an entire year. Good things began happening in his life, and the book shares this as well. He is now a judge in Southern California.

Those who have visited my blog regularly know that I champion the idea of appreciation, in whatever form works for you. I know personally how wonderful it feels to be in a state of appreciation, and how easy it is to get there, even when there are lots of things in our lives that could stand further improvement.

Here’s the thing: We are always in process of becoming. We never get it done because The Book of AWESOMEthere is always more possibility for improvement. So, when you allow yourself to be in process AND take time to appreciate where you are, who has joined you on the journey, and what you have to share with others, it makes the process even more enjoyable!

So, when my client first recommended this book, I thought he was referring to The Book of Awesome: Snow Days, Bakery Air, Finding Money in Your Pocket, and Other Simple, Brilliant Things by Neil Pasricha based on his blog after I had seen the author’s video speaking at TEDxToronto 2010. Here, too, the author was in a pretty tough place in his life where he could have focused on what was not going well, but chose to spend a little time each day appreciation the free, simple, and rarely appreciated aspects of our lives. He’s only completed about 2/3 of the list, but here’s the author speaking about the book:

But as I was trying to figure out if 365 Thank Yous was the same book/author as The Book of Awesome,  I remembered that a woman had started 29 Days of Giving and wrote a book about that!

29 Gifts of GivingIf you haven’t heard of Cami Walker, she had been diagnosed with MS and took the advice to give a gift, no matter how small, every day for 29 days. As her health began improving, her depth of appreciation grew, and she started the website to share the stories. Now, the site has 13,000+ members worldwide who are committed to finding ways to give to those they love and even strangers. Her book, 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life, shares the full story.

Can you see why I was confused?

Yeah, I know, it’s hard to believe. I’m getting confused over books, videos and resources about being appreciative and taking appreciative action! Come to think of it, what an AWESOME thing to be confused about, wouldn’t you say?!?

There’s no better time than now to express your appreciation! With all the books, blogs and videos touting the powerful and transformative acts of Appreciation in the form of thank yous, acknowledgment, and giving, there are now many great examples…how will you choose to express your appreciation? Do you have another resource you’d like us to know about? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below…

I’ve Been Twitter Tagged: Seven Things You May/May Not Know About Me

Twitter<br /> TaggedI was tagged by @tjonsek via Twitter. When this happened, I had *no clue* what this was about. What I can piece together is that I got to read Tawnya’s list here, and the list of the person who tagged Tawnya. Apparently, it’s now MY turn, so here goes…

1. I was born and raised in a little town near Lake Ontario (western upstate NY). Growing up, I thought I lived in the most boring place on the planet. Now, I look back and realize how *lucky* I was to live around so much open land, horses (neighbors had a barn/pasture), and clean air. When I was 17, I graduated high school, and went to college in Utah. Then, I moved again. I’ve lived in California for more than 23 years.

2. My Dad died of cancer when I was 17 yrs old (senior in High School) He was a heavy smoker, smoked most of his life, and suffered greatly at the end. It was not pretty, but this experience launched my wanting to know *more* about the human experience (before/during/after life), and it forever changed where I would live. Prior to his diagnosis, I had been accepted into the Fine Arts Program at Carnegie Mellon University on the Early Admissions program. My mother knew she couldn’t send me to an Ivy League school on her income alone, so she asked my high school art teacher for advice…hence, the U of U (teacher’s alma mater).

And no, I don’t smoke nor do I like to be around smoke…can’t imagine WHY…

3. I’m still close friends with my high school art teacher She was actually my school’s Drafting & Technical Illustration teacher, but with her fine art background, she mentored me in fine art portraiture and drawing (in her non-teaching hours). She was a great help to me and I still love drawing after all these years. I call her by her first name, now…Mary is in her 70s and is still designing homes/buildings for her family and others the old school way (by hand drawing them).

4. I have a degree in Fine Art/Painting and Drawing with a minor in Arts Administration (running galleries). You can see some of my work and the first pictures of me “creating” here.

5. I have a 19 y.o. son with Asperger’s Syndrome (high-functioning Autism) According to those who diagnosed my son, this syndrome is far more common than previously thought especially here in Silicon Valley. According to the experts, it passes genetically from father to son, and is very rare to see in girls. If a girl has it, it is much more severe than when boys have it. It is estimated that nearly 100% of the creative tech geniuses (you know, the ones with zero social skills, a great sense of humor and incredibly creative minds) have Asperger’s Syndrome which was first discovered in 1940s Austria by Dr. Asperger.

My son’s worst symptoms were brought under control after I took him to an alternative health doctor. She cleared him of heavy metals and used homeopathics/supplements to balance his brain chemistry. As a result, he did an immediate 180 degree turnaround at school and had the best 4 yrs in high school! My advice to parents of these kinds of kids: Get them to a local alternative health Dr/Chiropractor as soon as you can!

6. I used to work for Apple Computer and Adobe Systems If you live here in the Bay Area, that’s not such a big deal. Many didn’t know who these companies were when I worked for them.  (LOL!) I worked for both companies between 1988 and 1994. At Apple, I worked in Creative Services and Evangelism. At Adobe, I worked in Creative Services and eventually became their go-to gal for all presentations. I averaged 110+ presentations a year (including all illustrations, client management, and archiving). I left to start my own business…I am an expert in Photoshop, Illustrator and Acrobat.

7. I have been self-employed as an illustrator and presentation designer since 1994 Corporate clients (all sizes) hire me to create professional presentations and PPT templates for them…see my online portfolio here.

OK, my Tweeps, you can’t hide… @holisticmamma @cindykirchhoff @ivancampuzano @SiDawson @ROIcoaching @ChipEFT @WesHopper YOU’REIT!

Now, it’s your turn. (If you don’t have a blog, just create one here).

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