Twitter theft

An odd thing happened to me on Twitter last night, and I’m still puzzled by it.

The third-grader and I were alone in the house when Earth Hour arrived. We turned off the lights, talked a little about energy, the environment, and global warming, and then he got ready for bed by candlelight (which he enjoyed and may insist on for a while).

When the hour was up, I wrote a short tweet about how it looked like we had been alone in our neighborhood in turning off our lights.

A few minutes later, that tweet got a reply from someone who doesn’t follow me. I figured she had been watching the #earthhour trend and had seen it there. I went to Twitter’s trends page and began paging backward through the #earthhour tweets to see what others were saying about it. Soon I ran into this tweet

which was written about a minute after mine. This guy is a self-styled “marketing pro” who’s been following me for a while, probably because we live in the same town. I don’t follow him because, well, he’s a self-styled “marketing pro.”

If the tweets had the same topic, I could chalk this up to coincidence. But the exact wording—especially the rather formal construction, “showed that ours was the only house”—clearly moves this from coincidence to plagiarism. Pretty low-rent plagiarism, too—86 characters passing by in the Twitter stream.

I made posted this snarky tweet, but I have to say I’m more puzzled than angry.

What was the point of copying my tweet and passing it off as your own? Is that what being a marketing pro is all about?