Like many people, Instagram’s algorithm is hitting me hard. I wanted to have a chat about how I’m feeling about Instagram as it’s one of those things that I change my mind about constantly. Today I’m gonna talk specifically about Instagram pods, and why I have a problem with them. If you don’t know what an Instagram pod is, it’s essentially a chat group in the Instagram app, where people send their recent photos to be liked and commented on by the rest of the group. It’s a simple concept, but my experience of the reality is anything but simple.
When I first heard about Instagram pods, I figured they were a great way of increasing genuine engagement but wasn’t too bothered about joining one myself. Soon enough though, my engagement started to plummet along with everyone else’s, and I finally considered joining an Instagram pod. I started my search on Twitter, and joined one with a group of bloggers. To be honest, I struggled to keep up with it as I was at work most of the day and then came back to a ton of notifications in the evening, but diligently did my best to leave a genuine comment on each and every photo that was sent to the pod.
Not everyone else in the pod felt the same way though, and my first problem with Instagram pods is that not everyone leaves genuine comments. I would like to say at this stage that I know some pods have much stricter rules than others, but from my experience some people are allowed to get away with missing a few comments and likes here and there (myself included) which sort of ruins it for those who are making the effort. Some people are clearly in it for their own gain to begin with, and are usually the ones who bulk share all their own photos straight off the bat and then fall off the face of the chat.
Ultimately, I don’t see comment pods as a long-term solution, which I referred to in my last post on the subject. This is largely because a lot of the time you aren’t engaging with accounts you actually like, which is boring and from my experience messes with your algorithm. Of course, this isn’t the case if you spend a lot of time engaging outside of the pod (or pods if you’re a crazy person and can keep up with more than one pod at a time) but who has that much time to spend on Instagram really?
My other real problem with Instagram pods is that they can be decieving for brands and can result in opportunities being given to people who don’t really deserve them. Now, this isn’t supposed to come across as jealous – I’m under no illusion that my IG stats are in competition with a lot of these accounts – but I’d like to think that not being in a pod wouldn’t hinder my chances of collaborating with brands. Brands are wising up to comment pods, but let’s face it – hundreds of comments on every upload is still better than two or three, and ultimately who would you want to work with?
These points all boil down to the fact that by trying to ‘beat the algorithm’, we’re not actually beating anything. It’s becoming harder to engage with content you genuinely care about because it’s rarely put on a plate in front of you, and it’s becoming harder to spot fake engagement over the real thing.
I for one am out of the Instagram pod game, but do you think it has as big an effect as I do? Or do you love pods and the engagement they bring? I’d love to know your thoughts!