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These DC Bloggers Use an “Instagram Support Group” to Fight the Algorithm

Photograph by RossHelen via iStock.

When Instagram announced in March that Instagram feeds were going to switch to being ordered by an algorithm, rather than chronologically, users weren’t pleased. Rather than listing out posts according to the order in which they were published, Instagram feeds would be arranged by “the moments we believe you will care about the most” explained the brand’s announcement.

Despite the flurry of panic as brands asked followers to “turn on notifications” so that their posts wouldn’t be lost behind more popular posts, Instagram went ahead and rolled out the algorithm in June, and included in their announcement, “Over the past few months, we brought this new way of ordering posts to a portion of the community, and we found that people are liking photos more, commenting more and generally engaging with the community in a more active way.”

Some of those users who are contributing to all the liking and commenting are DC bloggers, who used the new algorithm as a reason to start an “Instagram support group.” While we love the thought of them all sitting around and chit chatting about Instagram on chintz sofas with cups of tea, that’s not how this support group rolls. Rather, they operate through Instagram direct messaging.

Instagram’s direct messages can be sent to up to 15 people at a time, and bloggers are using this method of communication to notify one another when they’ve posted something on Instagram so that they can get an immediate flood of likes and comments.

“The mechanism is rather simple: someone opens a DM (direct message) group and invites up to 15 people to join the conversation,” explains Holly Pan of Petite Flower Presents. “When a blogger posts a new post, she or he can press the share button (bottom left of a post) and share the post with a particular DM group or person. When the post shows up in the group, members of that chat group will go like and comment (preferably not using just emojis) on the post.”

The added likes and comments to the group members’ posts are intended to help boost the post’s power in their followers’ feeds. Melanie Yu of LaBelle Mel says that since joining, she’s seen her new followers increase to four or five a day, and Carla Sanchez of Spicy Candy DC has found it to be “a great way to organically gain active new followers.” 

While this Instagram fight club is primarily about increasing engagement and promoting one another’s profiles, there are also some real-life support group aspects to their interactions. For one thing, it helps them keep tabs on what everyone else is posting, and it also has helped make introductions between bloggers in the area. 

“A support group is more than just about the numbers of likes. It helps create a sense of community,” says Kate Greer of Kate Style Petite. “Blogging is all digital, but there are real people behind the blogs. It’s great to be able to connect with the bloggers in real life, and also meet-up to help each other—from swamping tips to taking outfit photos for one another.”

Overall, these bloggers have found the DC blogger community to be supportive of one another, even as they’re all looking for likes, comments, and page views. But since the social platforms they use to engage followers can change at any time, it’s all the more important for them to have one another’s backs.

“As bloggers, we know how important this is for our brand,” says Sanchez. “It makes me happy to see my fellow blogger friends succeed at what they love to do. I am willing to help in any way with achieving that success—if that is as easy as leaving you a comment, I’m all about it!”

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Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.