Is Copying Facebook Status Updates a Good Idea?

The right and the left, duking it out on Facebook

You’ve probably seen them. The chain status updates that go around. Sometimes they’re silly. Sometimes inspirational. Sometimes business-oriented. But they’re always word-for-word, and they tend to get noticed the more you see them.

But are they a good idea? Do they help you build relationships with people? Here are my thoughts:

  1. The “Copy this status as your own if you love/hate/believe…” updates can be intensely irritating, because they imply that if you don’t, you’re somehow a bad person. Yet they can be a tool to connect with other people who love/hate/believe… If you plan to use these, I advise that you remove the guilt-ridden language at the end, and simply state what you believe. And don’t use them too often. They get old quickly.
  2. Status updates that express a particular political opinion. This is really a subset of number 1. But as a direct seller, expressing strong political opinions can alienate customers, and affect people’s impressions of your parent company. This can make it more difficult for every direct seller in your company to do business. Really think before blasting these. It may be better to share these opinions in person, instead of on Facebook, where they’ll last forever and undoubtedly have a polarizing effect.
  3. Business status updates that worked for someone, somewhere. Someone shares a post that’s worked for their business, and you decide to use it too. This one can also get old fast. If I had a dollar for every good idea someone had for a recruiting status update, that got stolen and repeated ad nauseum, I’d be a rich woman. If you MUST copy a post that someone else wrote, give them credit and exposure by tagging them. And even better, come up with your own updates. You’ll be much better off in the long run.
  4. Public service announcement posts. Sometimes people discover some functionality about Facebook (or think they do) and warn all their friends to repeat the post to all their friends. Sometimes the information is valid, sometimes not. But it’s typically guaranteed to cause panic or at least outrage. If you do want to share one of these, be SURE to verify the facts first. You may find it’s old news. And be sure the wording is helpful, and not designed to cause panic. Don’t just copy it word for word because everyone else is.
  5. Company posts. Sometimes your company will put out a status update that you think is simply brilliant. You immediately want to copy it as your own. However the general public does NOT need an onslaught of the same post, over and over again, especially if it appears to come from different people, but the posts are exactly the same. If you wish to share a post from your company, either use the Share link if it’s available, or Tag your company in the post, so people know the source. Give credit where credit is due.

Have you ever copied a Facebook status update (or had one of yours copied)? How do you feel about it? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

7 Responses to Is Copying Facebook Status Updates a Good Idea?
  1. Babette
    January 20, 2012 | 1:40 am

    With #3, you have hit home with me. I don’t know how many times I have gone out of my way to make sure that my status updates talking about my product are unique, only to see 10 other consultants using it within minutes.
    Sad to say, after repeatedly asking them to at least get permission first and it not working, I have starting hiding my posts from other people who sell the same product.
    This way, I don’t have to worry about my post becoming oversaturated, and “normal”.

  2. MeLissa
    February 18, 2011 | 12:14 pm

    Ah, this is one of those fun subjects for me. I have people copy things I post semi-regularly and they don’t always give credit. Since I really have taken to heart your advice to create a strategy and move forward, it is a little frustrating.

    I’ve found that the best way to combat it in a kind and gentle manner is to 1) if it’s a first time offense, make a comment on their post that I’m so glad they really liked the quote/idea or whatever or 2) if it seems to be happening often, I will send them a note via messages telling them that I am SO flattered that they liked what I posted and that I’d just really appreciate it in the future if they would either a) use the share feature to share it with their list or b) use the @name feature so that people who read my page can see that other people in my line of work appreciate my level of expertise.

    Now there is one other instance that involves a little different tactic – if one of my friend list peeps posts something I have also posted, I want them to know I’m not copying them, but that I appreciate that great minds think alike. In this instance, I post a comment that I thought it was so neat that we had found the same thing. More often than not, they come back and say that I was the source…thus, I receive credit where it is due and if not, we build our relationship by learning we have something else in common. 🙂

    Great post today!

  3. Natalie
    February 18, 2011 | 2:18 am

    Great subject!

    Just this week I have had consultants copy word-for-word my ‘About Me’ website page, my FB info, my statuses and even photos and yes, it frustrates and annoys me. Had they given me a link or credit or even come to me and said, ‘Hey, I like what you’ve done, may I use it too?’ I would have no objection. I’d be pleased they liked my work. But just to take my work, without asking and without credit I think is rude. In fact, I give up a lot of time sharing information, presenting at convention, sending out extra information – it’s not that I don’t give. It’s just courteous to ask. Right?
    Natalie recently posted..Living Well Wednesday – 16th February- 2011

  4. Lisa Skinn
    February 17, 2011 | 10:30 am

    I am friends with some incredible people that often will share inspirational quotes. If a quote really resonates with me, I will copy and paste as my status. I always tag and thank the person that shared it first.

  5. Gary
    February 17, 2011 | 10:09 am

    I find it very annoying when a link gets posted by one person, and suddenly I see that 10, 20, even 30 people “shared” that link.

    I can understand if it is something that is very specific, like a video that is posted in one place only, but generally, it is links to news stories, articles, studies, etc., that has hundreds of different variations available – if only they look. And many of them won’t even bother.

    Many of the people that are reposting a link to information are not really interested in the content of the info. They are just using the headline as an attention grabber. They aren’t doing the actual work of finding relevant content, just riding the coat-tails of someone else’s work. If I see a link that interests me, I search it online, and find a different source for the same material, just to avoid having a link that looks like a spam list.

    Doing that research also gives me an extra edge in terms of actually understanding what I am putting out there. Many articles will have different content and information, even though they cover the exact same thing. It’s doing that extra few minutes of online research that will pay off, and has for me, in the end.

  6. Amy
    February 17, 2011 | 9:54 am

    I don’t copy posts word for word, at least not that I can recall. It’s like getting the same email forwarded over and over and over. I get so tired of reading the same things repeatedly on Facebook. I have seen other distributors in my company use my status or links and I’m fine with that. Our “friend lists” are all different and I’m glad to help some of them who are new to social media. If I do see a post that I like or agree with, I might re-word it to make it my own “thought”.

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