Thursday, February 28, 2008

Copy And Paste

I've had my online profile on dating site copied and pasted by a guy and my resume "borrowed" shamelessly by someone I thought was a friend. My initial reaction was one of puzzlement, surprise and even anger - someone just stole "my" thought process and commoditized "me". Why would they want to be me when they were them ?

How can replicating a slice of my personality (as in the dating profile) or many years of my professional career help those who were distinctly different from me in both areas ? When I thought about it some more, I realized I must be commoditzable enough for them to be able to do so. I was no better than a factory manufactured widget and just as easily reproducible. In the end, no one would know the difference. That being the case, the hand-wringing is entirely pointless.

If someone is truly exceptional in their professional or personal lives, copying their profile or resume would not make any sense. Their uniqueness would be the best deterrent against plagiarism. Imagine, a small time violinist deciding to draw "inspiration" from Itzhak Perlman's resume to take his career to the next level. It would be impossible and knowing that he would not borrow. He'd seek out someone who was at a professional level that he considered attainable.

Likewise with a online dating profile, if your worldview and interests are truly exceptional, the prospective borrower would not find any useful material in it to steal from. It is the unusual turn of phrase, the quirky humor that is often the most tempting (and easiest) to lift. There are like tasty hors d'Ĺ“uvres that whet the readers appetite for the main course. It sparks enough interest to initiate contact and a first date perhaps. Unaccompanied by a satisfying repast, it will go no further than that. The main course in the real person behind the quick wit and humor - their hilarious tag-line in twenty words or less.

Maybe a good dating profile can hold its own, capture the interest of the right person even without such flourishes. It is a matter of substance over style. Genuine substance can be much more captivating than a interesting style. I figured I lacked that in both areas and as a result got plagiarized. If I want to make myself copy-safe, I need to work on what is missing in me.

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