sharingI’ve had an object lesson this week in the perils of newer, easier information-sharing, via two news articles which came my way through different means. The first was a write-up in the local paper featuring a colleague of mine who had decorated her house in celebration of the Maple Leaf’s glorious but ultimately short-lived playoff victories. The Beloved saw the picture, recognized her name and tore out the page to bring it home for me.

The second story was a write-up at Techdirt by Timothy Geigner about a ‘bug’ in a recent Nintendo release which allowed Sims-like characters to marry same-sex Sims inside the game. When Nintendo learned about the ‘feature’ from happy fans, they issued a patch to ‘fix’ what they viewed as a bug.

This story came to me in a very different way—via my RSS feeds in Feedly, which is a new-to-me app that I am exploring in light of the upcoming demise of Google Reader. I enjoyed the story a lot and wanted to share it with my editor here at TeleRead, but I felt it wasn’t really on-topic for the blog, so I didn’t do my usual summation-attribution-link. Instead, I just tapped the share button and sent it to him for fun—for him to read and enjoy.

What I did not realize was that Feedly does not format shared posts in a way that made it clear to him that this was just a link share. He assumed it was a publishable story and up it went. I didn’t realize the error until the editor at Techdirt sent me a polite email asking what happened!

I am horrified that this occurred—we at TeleRead regularly post stories that originate at other blogs (as do they!), and we take attribution very seriously. We would never knowingly infringe on another author’s work. I hit the ‘share’ button thinking that was all I was doing—sharing. And I naïvely assumed that it would be clear to my recipient what I had done, the same way it was clear to me where my Beloved had gotten the story about my friend, since the name of the paper was printed at the top.

It’s nice that Feedly wants to keep the links, and other attributive details, as unobtrusive as possible so people can share a story without feeling like they are deluging their friends and family with tons of advertising. Indeed, the sheet of newsprint the Beloved brought home for me had a half-dozen advertising messages on it, and it was only part of the page in question. But in the instance of the Nintendo article, the outside messages were a little too unobtrusive, and the original link got missed.

I apologize for that, and I want to assure our readers, both at TeleRead and at Techdirt, that the cross-post of Timothy Geigner’s story was unintentional. I’ll make sure, next time I share ‘just for reading, not posting’ that it’s very clear to my recipient.


  1. Mistakes happen. 🙂 I thought the follow-up was handled very nicely, both by TeleRead and (from the way you describe it) by Techdirt.

    (By the way, this isn’t just a digital-era problem. In the print newsroom, when staff articles, press releases, and articles to reference are all travelling about in the same space, the same sort of problem can occur.)

  2. This is one of the things that I love about this site – you own up to your mistakes. Add in the good research, good articles (I’m still using the Calibre series), and interesting readers and it’s a total win for me with my morning coffee.

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