Okay, so - last week I joined an Instragram travel engagement group on Facebook. Since I'm trying to grow my blog and following (subscribe here!) I read that engaging in Facebook groups for your niche was a good way to get out there and meet other bloggers and gain more traction. Little did I know the drama that would be stirred up because of a simple mistake I made.
Anyway, if you've been following me on Instagram, you'll know that I finally arrived back in Hong Kong after an excruciating 24+ hours travelling from Greece. Since I was country-hopping and laying over in so many countries, I decided I would use my limited WiFi to take part in a daily like thread that is hosted by the travel group. Now, the rules of the Like threads are pretty simple and are as follows:
- Wait for the daily photo anchor to be posted on IG and Facebook
- Tag their account in your picture
- Comment your IG handle in the comments of the Facebook post
- Every couple of hours go and like the pictures that have been tagged for that days thread
Seems simple right? You post your photo and like everyone else's, they reciprocate - easy. To moderate the group and make sure everyone is adhering to the rules and not being leechers, the group has a handful of moderators. If they catch you out for not following one of the rules, you receive a strike, and if you get 3 strikes - you guessed it - you're out.
Seems a bit harsh but here are the rules spelled out right in the description:
So for the first 4 days, I was having an absolute blast discovering new bloggers and networking within my niche - it was awesome. Then on Day 5, I get a message from a moderator kindly telling me one of my photos has been removed because I didn't follow the rules. As a goody-two-shoes since kindergarten, I couldn't imagine that I hadn't followed the rules. Did I forget to like the other people's photos? Did I accidentally tag two pictures instead of one? What did I do?!
I didn't comment my name on the Facebook Group.
The mod kindly informed me that I hadn't commented on the Facebook post and therefore my efforts that day didn't count and I would receive a strike. I told them that I'm sorry, I must have overlooked it and that I've been on a plane travelling home and would it be okay to revoke the strike as I did engage with everyone else's pictures - which is the real aim of the group, right? By this point, I had accepted my strike - unjustified in my opinion but hey-ho, life goes on.
The moderator, on the other hand, apparently didn't accept this and from this point forward got really snarky with me. Our conversation continued as followed:
Me: Fine. I just don't think it's fair. But rules are rules.
Mod: You had extra hours to add your IG handle to FB
Me: Then I'll add it now?
Mod: I don't think your flight lasted more than 24 hours.
What?! I've accepted your decision! Leave me be! But no, the mod continued on for another couple of messages before asking me what the hell I wanted. I was about to respond with "remove my strike" when BING! A Facebook notification from the travel group! The mod I was talking with publically posted in the group:
Guys, I spent the last 3 hours auditing the threads from 27th August instead of liking and commenting on everyone's posts. And let me tell you, I am very disappointed 😤.
You don't read the rules, you don't follow them, you question the messages I send you, you're trying to make me change my mind regarding the strikes & so on. Please stop breaking the rules!
We (admin & moderators) are not paid to do this, not all of us are nomads/full-time travellers, we have full-time jobs and don't have the time to send everyone one of you messages letting you know you broke the rules, explaining what rules you broke and bargaining with you. I kicked out 3 members tonight and 1 last night. This group is for helping each other out, so stop playing games and do your part!
And I thought I was petty. I decided then and there that this is not the kind of community I want to be a part of. I told the mod that what I wanted now was a chance for future members to get away with a minor mess up like mine, especially if (like me) they still engage with the posts. The mod decided to rescind my strike, but I went with my gut and thanked them for the successful 5 days I had but after I finish my threads I would leave the group myself.
And so with that, my 5 days in a Instagram travel engagement group was over.
If you know me, I am petty af. No reason to lie about it, I can be really petty. Mostly, I don't act upon it, rather I complain to my mum or boyfriend and daydream about my takedown of whoever has "done me wrong" - think Taylor Swift a la Look What You Made Me Do. So here's my petty post warning you to be careful with what groups you engage in.
I guess the moral of the story is to choose your communities wisely and make sure you feel welcomed when you join one. If someone who is voluntarily doing something gets fed up and decides to take it out on you and make you feel bad, especially when you're in the right, don't be afraid to make your voice heard - politely and civilly that is. You'll get your message across better and maybe help them become more understanding in the future.
TL;DR: I joined an Instagram Travel Engagement Group on Facebook and the moderators ended up being snarky and petty af because of a mistake I made. A mistake I made while I was travelling. Travelling in order to be able to contribute more to the group.