Why I Left All My Instagram Pods

Why I Left All My Instagram Pods

Let’s start off with a little disclaimer, shall we?

I’m not hating on pods, I’m not against pods or those who are part of a pod. I just wanted to share my experience with pods and they’ve been a huge part of Instagram life and my blogger career.

I can’t remember the exact point in time when pods became a “thing”, they just started appearing on my Twitter timeline. I struggle with Instagram engagement as much as the next blogger, and thought it would be fun to try a pod, maybe meet some new people and get a little inspo along the way.

Instagram is a tricky thing, it’s easily one of my favourite social media platforms, as I’m nosey and love to see what others get up to. But as a blogger, it’s one of the most insufferable platforms because it’s becoming increasingly difficult to grow. It’s almost discouraging as you see the amount of ‘likes’ go down, and realise this isn’t because people hate your content, it’s because Instagram isn’t showing it to them. With shadow banning and the (stupid) algorithm, Instagram seems to constantly be pushing sponsored posts in our faces, which I know many (including myself) aren’t into. There’s nothing wrong with sponsored posts, chase that coin! But for bloggers like me, it’s just not in the budget for me. My debit card doesn’t stretch as far as paying for my posts to be seen.

Instagram pods were created to try and beat the algorithm, and to help bloggers interact with each other in a more positive way online. Over the past year, I’ve been a part of six pods, and left my remaining two over the last week. My heart wasn’t in it anymore, liking felt more like a chore.

Anika May // Instagram // Lifestyle Blogger // anikamay.co.ukWhen joining the pod, if it’s properly managed there’s usually rules, for example:

1. You must follow each pod member.

2. You must like each post shared in the post.

3. You must comment on each post shared.

4. Comments must be more than four words (otherwise it doesn’t count as engagement).

I’m pretty happy with rules like those, but the problem arises when there are a few who chose not to follow the rules, and in fact just ignore them all together.

One thing that irritated me the most about rule breaking, was how unfair it was to others. Whether it’s not liking a post until they had one to be liked, or simply jumping in and out of the pod whenever. It meant that those who were most active, were commenting on posts, but those who hardly ever logged on were getting engagement without giving some back. Not to whinge or anything, but following the rules just makes it so much easier.

Sometimes there are pods that work very efficiently, with a good number of bloggers involved and everyone following the rules as well as being fair. My most recent pod groups were like this. However, over time, I started to get sick of seeing a little badge icon over my Instagram app, knowing it was another post I had to like without genuinely enjoying the content. It also altered my timeline, meaning I was missing content for bloggers I really admire.

Anika May // Instagram // Lifestyle Blogger // anikamay.co.uk

There are some awesome bloggers in pods that publish brilliant content. But to be liking every single photo just felt manufactured to me, and also disingenuous. And I got the same vibe on my posts, as I’d look at the comments, I almost felt like they weren’t real – I didn’t earn them.

It was that final thought that lead me to leave every pod I was a part of. Sure the rule breakers were annoying, but I could get over that. And liking/commenting on every photo was weird but I just kind of went with the motions. It was looking at my own posts and engagement that had me second-guessing my memberships.

I came to the conclusion that I’d rather have low engagement, likes, comments, saves and so forth, if it meant they were real numbers I was looking at. Because one day, I’ll look back and admire how much I’ve grown in my dream job. But if I continued in pods, those numbers wouldn’t be real, the comments were very sweet but not natural, and I wasn’t discovered. Seeing the same people comment on my photos every day made Instagram feel like a chore, something I don’t look forward to.

It may sound odd to some, but I guess I’ll stay seated in the under 1k club until I finally get my chance to shine. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

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A xo

  • I love Instagram. I am not part of any pod. Interesting post though Thank you so much about the info on pods. Have a lovely day. xoxo Cris

    • Thanks so much for reading, you too, Cris! xo

  • To be honest I never tried pods myself, must say Instagram just hasn’t been growing which really sucks when trying so hard to create a following.

    Candice | Beauty Candy Loves

    • It’s rubbish right?! I wish they’d just scrap the algorithm! xo

  • Ray

    I’ve never joined nor been interested in joining one. It just doesn’t look like real engagement to me, though I understand why people do it.


    • Definitely learned that in the long run, just wasn’t for me! xo

  • I used to be a part of an Instagram pod too and I felt the exact same way, the interaction didn’t seem real, hence I left too.

    • Such a rubbish feeling! Thanks for reading xo

  • I think it’s sad that some people just aren’t playing by the rules… It’s not fairplay at all and it’s a shame because this could be a great opportunity for everyone if everyone was just ready to make a little more effort :/
    Lucie, xx


    • I really hated how unfair some became. Definitely think they could work if everyone worked together more! xo

  • Courtney Hardy

    It’s sad that people were not playing by the rules. I’m currently in 5 pods, and what I’ve also noticed that not many people return the comments and likes. But the pods help a little bit so that’s why I’m still in them.

    • I found that they helped a lot too, but in the end I just couldn’t keep up! Thanks for reading xo

  • I’m with you on this. I tried pod for a week, left and never looked back. Okay, it was just a week and I can’t say much, but almost instantly I realized that the comments & likes were just so fake. They weren’t for me or my photo, because I didn’t know if they actually liked them. And for me, I didn’t actually like most of the photos shared in the pod, but I needed to follow the rules. So, I left the pod and now I’m enjoying Istagram so much more than before, because I know that almost every comment or follow is real. Now I’m just wishing that the spammers would go away.

    Heidi ✨ | Heidi’s Planner

    • Spammers are so annoying! I’m the same way, I didn’t love everything shared and it just felt so false and unlike me! Plus I felt awkward complimenting something by force just to stick by rules :/

      Thanks so much for reading Heidi! xo

  • I wish Instagram was not such a manufactured platform. I just found out about pods a couple of weeks ago and I was dumbfounded. I guess they are good when working correctly. I started following you on IG as well.
    xoxo Falasha
    Bite My Fashion
    Instagram| Bloglovin’| Facebook

    • It would be so much better if it was something users had more control over! Thanks so much, I have followed right back! xo

  • I am in 3 pods now and have been thinking of leaving at least one because as you said, it has become a chore and I really don’t like that feeling. 🙁

    Shireen⎜Reflection of Sanity

    • Definitely a reason why I left a couple, keeping up wasn’t fun! xo

  • I completely get what your saying. I was also a part of a pod but I had to quit, it also felt “fake” for me, both comments that I was getting and comments that I was leaving on other bloggers ‘grams. It gets to a point where it just feels like an obligation instead of actually genuinely commenting on someone’s photo.

    xo | Cindy Elena

    • Exactly! Really felt like a chore or something forced and leaving disingenuous comments sucks 🙁 xo

  • I totally agree with everything you’ve said! I left all of my Instagram pods a couple of months back and my engagement has never been better. The worst part of them was definitely the disinterested comments – I would always put so much effort into my comments on their images to illicit a response and all I’d get back on my images was ‘hahaha you’re so funny’ or ‘this is so so true’. Super lame and not worth the time! Spend that thirty minutes a day engaging with people who actually give a shit and watch how far it takes you!

    Sharni xo

    • I must admit my engagement has been a little better too! Definitely hate comments like “nice pic” or “great outfit” – especially if the post doesn’t feature an outfit! Feels so much better to have real comments and followers! xo

  • Keep working at it girl!

    Vivian | LIVE IN LOVE
    IG | @viviyunn_


  • I actually really like comment pods! I’ve seen a definite improvement in my wider engagement since getting involved. I think for me it’s key that admin call out any rule-breakers and that you’re all in really similar niches, sharing relevant content to ensure everyone has something engaging to comment 🙂

    Jasmine xx

    Jasmine Talks Beauty

  • Oh the funny world of instagram – I recently left all my pods too. I’ll still comment on all the wonderful bloggers I met through it, but this way its more organic, and not a chore! Thanks for sharing


  • I completely agree with the slow and steady wins the race attitude 🙂 And I also feel like you shouldn’t feel forced to like something you might not like, it doesn’t feel organic!


  • I’m in two pods and everyone in them is friends which I think makes it easier as we all want to help eachother xx

    Gemma • Gemma Etc. ❤️

  • Shannon

    I totally feel you on being frustrated with lack of growth and engagement! I get a lot of people with over 5k who follow me just to get a follow back so that they then can unfollow me and it’s so annoying. Also, that seems like way to much work, but whatever. I just want 1k of genuine and engaged followers, but that seems like too much to ask for these days. I will push on though, hopefully slow and steady does win the race.

    Shann Eileen | http://www.shanneileen.com