Lows of Bookstagram: Engagement Group Drama

Hi everyone! Hope y’all are doing well! If you’re like me and are also a bookstgrammer, you know that the algorithm on that app is so crazy and makes it difficult to interact with other peoples post at times. Like if you stop liking/commenting on an account for a period of time, that account will stop showing up in your feed, so in a way to help with this, people have been using engagement groups to help one another.

Engagement groups are a great way to meet new book lover, like/comment on their post, and create new bonds within the book community. Sure, there are some rules to stay in the group like liking, commenting, and/or saving other people post. A lot of the time, you have to acknowledge the rules before you can start tagging photos of your own and get started in the group.

This morning around 10, I went on Instagram to start going through the comments on my post and catch up on liking posts in the groups that I’m in when I saw a story from one of the groups. I try to watch them especially since the leaders (admins) of the groups post import updates about things within the group. It turns out this story was about some drama and hate that larger bookstgrammers hating on these engagement groups and the admins running them because of how we ‘basically buy our likes and followers’ and the groups are cliques. They did not give any other reasons other than that, and it look like they deleted the stories from their account (yes, I know that they only last for 24 hours but it was like 12 hours ago). Now let me go a head and say that these people spreading the drama have a large following of 12k+ followers, and were tagging admins’ personal account (in what I think was to let others to spread hate).

Let me just go ahead and say that the groups I’m in have a variety of photos and people from all over the world. There’s a wide range of accounts with different size followings from a 100 to thousands of followers, so it’s not like the admins are only picking people with top notch photos and large followers. There are caps on accounts to make it reasonable and not to overwhelm the people within to like/comment on the photos. Sure, some admins may be a little more picky than others when it comes to selecting the accounts, but for the most part, it’s pretty easy to get in once there’s room.

I don’t know the full extent to what’s going on with these larger account and nor do I know everyone that’s calling out these engagement groups, so this is merely me needing to talk about what’s going on and make others aware of what is going on. These are my own opinions (if I have to I’ll turn off the comments for this post).

It hurts me as a person to know that people within the book community are being so mean to the people finding a way to help others within our community. Being a relatively new bookstagrammer of just over a year, it’s hard to establish yourself and account in this community when you have literally nothing to offer but your photos and words. It feels like if you didn’t know the right people or constantly host giveaways you’re not going anywhere despite how genuine you are.

I’m a busy person with college, responsibilities at home, and blogging, so I don’t have copious amounts of time (or space) to set aside for my bookstagram. I make do with the limited stuff I have and do my best, and for a while, that was working. Over time my following was slowing increasing with time (nothing substantial but enough to give me something to keep going). But around the end of last year/beginning things had started to plateau for me and I was at the point of quitting because I felt like there was no one to look at my posts so I started to look into these groups.

Around February, I had found a group and it was working for like two days before there was drama in that group and I left because of how I was treated after making one mistake. I had found another group some other groups and found a lot of new people.

I’ll be honest, bookstagram is the one of the popular places that publishers and authors like and take into consideration when looking for bookish people to spread news about books. It’s the place that gives readers the opportunity to read ARCS, and it gives people the opportunities to work with small bookish companies as reps/influences. So, there’s a lot of want for some people to have large follows/support on their posts to have these opportunities. Well when you have a smaller account, you’re often overlooked because of the large accounts because the have more reach. And I understand the reasoning behind it, but it starts to take a toll on the small accounts because they keep getting passed over or told “you would have been picked if you only had more followers”.

Well to me these engagement groups give the small accounts a chance at being selected for these opportunities.

Some of the drama was about how the admins of the groups ask you to follow them to stay in the group. In all honestly what is 200-250 followers in light of your tens of thousands. You know the admins of the groups that I’m in are hard workers and don’t deserve this hate (not like anyone does). They make sure that the group is running properly and no one is taking without sharing the love on post. To me, it’s the least we (as the people who join the group) can do, but again that’s just me.

I had been contemplating starting a group for a couple of months and made the group yesterday after going back and forth. My group was going to be a small group of about 100 people and I had hoped that I could find people who would a bid by the small set of rules and I wouldn’t have to talk to anybody about not liking other peoples post. But after the stuff I saw this morning, I deactivated the group because I don’t need that type of negativity from people who try to take away opportunities from others because we have a way of supporting people within the community despite the app’s algorithm.

The thing about these large accounts who host all of these giveaways is that sure they may have all of these followers and people interact with these posts but it’s only because they’re giving something away. And you have to stop and think, do people really like this account or know anything about the person taking the photos or are we just here in hopes of getting a book? If these accounts who want to come after people for joining engagement groups for likes comments, how are they any different since their reputation of nice photos and opportunities work closely with publishers/authors/tour companies/shops gives them likes and followers and hype?

If they want to talk about something, how about using apps where you PAY money for likes and followers? Or how is an engagement group any different from those threads on facebook, twitter, or even Instagram itself where you follow for follow and literally just increase your follower count? At least with an engagement group you know that you have to interact with one another.

I’m sorry but they’re acting petty because people have found away to support each other. There are better ways to use their voice and spread than accusing people of “replacing genuine interaction” with these groups.

Thank y’all for listening to me while I was on my soap box. I just felt so defeated when I saw this a couple of hours ago. The world is bad enough without something a insignificant as this.

Happy reading until next time,

27 thoughts on “Lows of Bookstagram: Engagement Group Drama

  1. I personally like these engagement groups! I’m only involved in a couple, but I don’t see it as ‘cheating’ for a group of people to agree to like one another’s photos. One of the groups I’m in is almost all people I know from group chats, so it’s just an easy way to keep up with my friends’ posts! The algorithm is so frustrating, because it will always prioritise the posts that get the most engagement, which naturally is those from bigger accounts. Being a fairly small account (under 1k), and being friendly with a lot of people who have a similar follow count, I know how easy it is for the algorithm to hide posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Woah. That was a lot of drama!! That feels so low. Ugh. I’ve never been on Bookstagram so this was surprising yet a shocking read!!
    But I’m sure apart from this all, the community is really lovely as a whole?❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I completely missed all the drama. I love the group that I am a part of. Everyone is supportive of each other and it’s a wonderful community. X

    Liked by 1 person

    • Consider yourself lucky that you missed the drama 😂! I was completely taken by surprise when I saw it this morning. I’m glad that you’ve found a group of lovely people who support each other!


  4. These engagement groups have been a lot more helpful than anything most days. They’re not buying likes, and it’s easy for the “elite” to complain about things like that when they don’t have to worry about comments and likes

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I didn’t see any of the posts, but I did hear about it and it’s just crazy. Let people do what they want when it comes to likes and comments. If you want to do giveaways over and over to gain followers, then fine. Engagement groups? Go for it! I’m in a couple and I love them. They aren’t terribly big, we all like and/or comment on each other’s posts and we do actually follow everyone in the group – not just the person who started it. It’s a great way to get to know people and feel a connection among all the many accounts on Instagram. We’re not MAKING anyone follow us – it’s their choice to be in the group if they want to be, and leave if they don’t want to be. It’s all about supporting each other and having fun.


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  7. I was very vaguely aware of this drama, so I appreciate you clarifying it for me. I legitimately don’t understand how people could be mad over engagement groups, especially since it’s not something that affects anyone but the people in the groups. I’m part of a very small group (less than 10 people) and being in that group has been one of the highlights of instagram for me. I find that I care a lot more about the posts my group puts out than any shots that might look more professional but who are posted by people who don’t engage with me.

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  9. I completely agree! I’m in two engagement groups and one of them had a discussion about this when it happened. It was so disappointing. :/
    It’s not going to change what I do by any means. I look at my engagement groups as friends who support each other. There’s nothing wrong with that. 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

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