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Welcome Friends! Here is a place for teachers, parents, librarians and writers to learn what's going on in the world of book author Karma Wilson.

Plagiarizing Personalities? Why kids need writing skills!

Wall Street Journal had a very interesting article about a new Internet phenomenon.  The explosion of online dating and networking sites has created a new form of plagiarism, and it’s not pretty.  People desperate to impress are apparently cut-n-pasting themselves an extreme personality makeover! According to the WSJ article:

“Among the 125 million people in the U.S. who visit online dating and social-networking sites are a growing number of dullards who steal personal profiles, life philosophies, even signature poems. “Dude u like copied my whole myspace,” posts one aggrieved victim.

Copycats use the real-life wit of others to create cut-and-paste personas, hoping to land dates or just look clever.”  

In my opinion what it boils down to is a lack of writing skills combined with laziness. We have become a “sound-bite society”.  Many people no longer have the patience to take a few minutes to be creative, witty and real. And while text messaging is quick and convenient, it makes for crummy dating profile. “SWM, n 2 tunes n vid games, seeks buTful girl n 2 same.”

Um, yea. But rather than write a compelling profile with subtle humor, deeper insight, and actual information about the writer’s personality, it’s much easier to seek the technological out, find somebody with a quirky, fascinating personality and steal it. I find myself wondering if their is multi-tier plagiarism going on.  Has somebody every copied a personality that was already plagiarized? Hmmmm….

But back to my point, this is exactly why we need to feed our children a steady diet of good literature from birth through 12th grade, and I mean real literature, not watered down pabulum! I once had a discussion with another author about how kids today are bored by the classics. The writer insisted that the because kids are bombarded with quick, easy entertainment (video games, TV, email, text messages) the writing in the classics wasn’t staccato enough, and had too much unnecessary detail. Novels mentioned  included Anne of Green Gables and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn!  The writer assured me that these novels would never be published in today’s publishing atmosphere. I agreed, but in my mind it was more a condemnation of today’s literature than the classics! (Note: there are a lot of wonderful books being written today, so this isn’t blanket condemnation.)

I know there are a lot of creative and wonderful young people out there and not everybody is ripping off a snazzy profile for their Myspace page. But it really concerns me that some young people are finding it too much trouble to come up with a couple of creative paragraphs about their own ideas and interests.

Whenever I’m asked what the secret to good writing is I have one main response: Good reading. This illustrates exactly what I mean.