A lot of us get quite sensitive about what we share online. It’s only natural – who wants to air their dirty laundry in front of an audience of billions?

But you can’t just reach for the Daz when you’re putting it out there on the world wide web. Thanks to the miracles of things like Google Cache Browser and archive.org’s Wayback Machine, things are kept for time immemorial for posterity.

Most people are coming to terms with their digital footprints and shadows. It’s the new world order.

It gets a little more confusing when you want to share things but you want people to know they’re yours. You want internet users to realise that your intellectual property is not to be used without your consent.

This is a common moan of the photographer, and increasingly so writers like yours truly. And there lies the paradox: you want people to recognise the might of what you do, but you don’t want them to abuse that work by passing it off as their own.

Do it write

If you’ve created the mother of all blog posts and you want some credit if it’s used elsewhere, a simple service like Tynt’s CopyPaste can help. Any time someone reuses your content, CopyPaste adds a ‘Read more:’ suffix to the extract that shows readers the website where that block of text originated.

Content thieves don’t just hurt your pride – they can also hurt your search engine rankings. That’s because Google, Yahoo! and Bing frown upon duplicate content, which means it’s important that as the creator you stake your claim to those fabulous words, first.

If you’re using WordPress, the world’s favourite blog engine, there are a couple of plugins (little bits of software that ‘plug in’ to your website) that can help. Google Plus Authorship (http://wordpress.org/plugins/google-plus-authorship/) vouches your status as the author of that prose, while PubSubHubBub ( http://wordpress.org/plugins/pubsubhubbub/) lets the search engines know about your new article the moment you hit Publish.

Here’s looking at you

But what if your craft is about more than words? Most newer cameras now include wifi as standard, meaning seconds after you hit the shutter release button that snazzy image could be winging its way across the web.

And as we’ve seen hundreds of times before, without the proper precautions it’s open season for the unwitting website owner or those with a more nefarious bent when it comes to images displayed online.

The BBC put out an interesting article a few weeks ago giving you loads of tips on how to protect photos on the world wide web. Proof that technology’s often out of date before it’s out, the first tool mentioned – Stipple – is no longer with us. But Umarkonline (umarkonline.com) is, and though it can be time consuming if you’re sharing lots of images it does serve as a deterrent against stealing.

If you use photo sharing services such as Flickr (flickr.com) then as part of the uploading process you automatically have the option of covering your work using Creative Commons (CC). Otherwise you can add CC to your images as explained at creativecommons.org/licenses/.

There’s no way of physically stopping people reusing your images online – anyone can print their screen, even if you have used code to stop someone copying the image itself – but a reverse image search tool like Tineye (tineye.com) will show you if there are multiple instances of your photos on the web.

Enjoyed this lesson for content strategy success? Get in touch on Twitter @davethackeray and let me know your thoughts.

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