Let’s be honest, since the change to the Instagram algorithm, your engagement will either have skyrocketed further than you could have ever imagined, or it will have been completely shot to shit. I’m guessing for many if you’re reading this, it will be the latter. For this reason, we’ve seen a rise of Instagram pods in the last few months – little groups where bloggers can come together to share their latest photos and other members will like and comment on said post. By doing this, a lot of people have seen an increase on their engagement and follower numbers. It all sounds great, right?
Why I joined
I initially joined an Instagram pod a few months ago because I was really struggling with trying to build my following and general engagement as a whole. Unfortunately, at times it can seem like your whole worth as a blogger is based off numbers, especially when you’re looking to work with brands of any size, so this was a really big concern for me. Plus, when you work really hard on something, you want to see it progress and pods seemed like a fix for my problems, whilst I also got the added benefit of chatting to some likeminded bloggers. In that sense, it was pretty awesome and I enjoy seeing posts from most of the girls in my pod.
However, as much as it has benefited me, I’ve recently started to question whether pods are actually as positive as they first appear. So over the last week or so, I’ve pressed pause on my pods to see how I can get along without them.
Is it all about the numbers?
First of all, let me just say that yes, there are certain members of pods that I will continue to follow, support and engage with no matter what because their content is absolutely awesome. However, I’ve also experienced bloggers in my groups that I would never usually engage with, simply because their content isn’t relevant to me, we just don’t share the same interests at all. I’ve also heard a couple of other girls say this exact same thing recently so if that’s the case, I started thinking, am I really the type of account that they want to be engaging with, or is it all just about the numbers?
Numbers do seem like a big deal when you’re totally engrossed in Instagram and you can get totally obsessed with reaching a certain amount of ‘likes’. When I first thought about leaving my pods, I was terrified because I thought my engagement and follower count would absolutely plummet. It still worried me even after I decided to leave. But slowly, my numbers are creeping back up and I’m starting to feel more like I’ve earned my likes which is putting more enjoyment back into Instagram for me.
The impact on my personal life
But one of the main reasons that I’ve turned off my notifications is because it was getting slightly overwhelming. I was part of 8 pods for a number of months, each with around 10 members – can you imagine how many notifications that was on a daily basis on top of my usual ones? Short answer- tonnes. I started to feel like I was never putting my phone down to engage in real life, and that was not good at all for my overall mental wellbeing. I decided that I don’t want Instagram to completely rule over my life and I found that I simply didn’t have the time to like and comment on every single photo – it isn’t always realistic, no matter how much we want to support fellow bloggers.
Will Instagram stop pods sometime soon?
Aside from all those personal reasons, there’s been so many rumours circulating that Instagram is looking to stop these pods from happening because they don’t want users to simply cheat their way to beating the algorithm. As much as I believe that these are just rumours for the time being, I think it’s quite likely that they will want to put a stop to the pods and will find a way to enforce a rule against it in the future. After all, if they chose to shut down all of the fake or spam accounts in 2014, what’s to stop the platform shutting down users who are technically creating their own engagement?
I’m not bashing pods at all, I’ve appreciated being a member of mine and I continue to support those girls, even if I’m not actively participating in the group anymore. If you find a group of bloggers you engage with well and if you share the same interests, that’s something to hold onto because being part of a community is a massive element in blogging, for me anyway. Pods are also a great way to build your audience and interact with other bloggers. But as soon as you start to feel as though you wouldn’t get any engagement without them or you don’t really like the photos you’re engaging with, then it’s probably time to leave.
If interested, click here for a link to my Instagram.
And here’s some awesome Instagram accounts to follow if you’re not already: