Toa Heftiba

Do you know what it takes?

Cailey Rizzo
May 17, 2017

Although most social media users know that what they see online isn’t all that it appears to be, very few people know just how deep the Instagram facade can go.

Related: How this picture-perfect couple makes six figures while traveling the world together

One travel blogger and Instagram influencer, Sara Melotti, decided to let followers know exactly what’s going down in the app with a blog post revealing the “dirty secrets” of Instagram.

“I can afford to be on the road only because I’m constantly collaborating with hotels, tour companies and brands,” Melotti wrote. “And this collaborations couldn’t be possible if I didn’t spend time building a solid portfolio and an engaged following on IG.”

Melotti traces what she considers the fall of Instagram to last year, when the social media platform changed its algorithm. No longer did posts appear in chronological order while scrolling through. Instead, users saw posts they were most likely to engage with and “like.”

Melotti said that this made bloggers and social media stars panic and start buying up followers and likes, to keep themselves at the top of everybody’s feed — and to make themselves more valuable for brands and advertisers. Other tricks included commenting on random accounts to get attention or following other users hoping for a follow back and then immediately unfollowing.

I remember how excited I was when I first started posting on instagram. I finally had a platform to get my work seen, tell my stories, share my life and get inspired by those of others. It was all about creativity and art and The Work, it was fair and ethical and just awesome! Things has changed a lot since, and now I often find myself feeling sick to my stomach when I have to post a new picture... There's something I'd really like you to read, I wrote a piece called "INSTAGRAM CREATED A MONSTER - A no bullshit guide to what's really going on" It's the most honest and important thing I ever wrote; the link is in my bio and you can find out more in my stories. Please please please if you find it useful share it on your social medias, fb, twitter, even in the stories, spread the word about it! Let's cut the bullshit, Let's talk! This has gone too far! Thanks to all of you who sent me messages, i'm overwhelmed by your support and kindness and I'm doing my best to get back to everyone asap! I love you all and I owe you so much 🙏🏻💛 thank you with all my heart for following along my life, thank you for caring about what's right 💛 . . . . . . . #bali #asia #indonesia #europe #travel #IamATraveler #wanderlust #travelgirl #tlpicks #passionpassport #traveldeeper #tandctravel #beautifuldestinations #huffpostgram #outdoors #livetravelchannel #timeoutsociety #travelstoke #natgeo #lonelyplanet #peoplecreatives #theweekoninstagram #photooftheday #lovetravel #traveler #sky #birds #sunset

A post shared by Sara Melotti (@saramelotti_) on

Guys, I can't find the words to thank you enough for all the kindness and support you are showing. Since I posted the article on Monday it has been seen, read and shared by so many people. It's beyond my wildest dreams that something I wrote, something I felt so deeply got felt by you too. . Today there's an article on Vanity Fair Italia about me and what I wrote...the attention my words are getting is a clear and alarming sign that we are all in need of changes here; that a lot of us are not happy, tired, uninspired, broken; That there's a problem that needs to be addressed: there's a desperate need for truth! Our perception of reality is becoming so distorted by fakeness pushed as real life we need to do something about it before it's too late. . My posts were always meant to make you dream a little, and to share with you all the beauty of travel and cultures and the magic of creativity. Your heartfelt response over the last few days reminded me why I am here, and what I want the most: to inspire and to be inspired. . I promise you I'll always try to be better than who I was yesterday, that I will always be honest and truthful and that I won't ever sell you lies masquerade as reality. . I want to live in a more honest world so I'll play my part and I'll always play clean from now on. Let's all play our part and inspire each other guys 💛 Thank you for everything Love —S P.s. My phone is exploding I have a crazy amount of messages, comments, fb messages, tweets and emails still to reply to, I'll get back to everyone asap I promise! (And if you don't. Ow what I'm talking about go check out the link in bio RIGHT NOW!!😉) . . . . . #bali #asia #indonesia #europe #travel #IamATraveler #wanderlust #travelgirl #tlpicks #passionpassport #traveldeeper #tandctravel #beautifuldestinations #huffpostgram #outdoors #livetravelchannel #timeoutsociety #travelstoke #natgeo #lonelyplanet #peoplecreatives #theweekoninstagram #photooftheday #lovetravel #traveler #sky #birds #sunset

A post shared by Sara Melotti (@saramelotti_) on

The “dark side of Instagram” is also affecting the content that users post, according to Melotti. Instagrammers are much more likely to go to a spot where other Instagrammers have posted because followers are more likely to “like” what's familiar. This not only applies to the types of places featured on Instagram but the types of shots that users post.

Related: 8 luxury travel Instagrams that put your vacation photos to shame

Some “collective accounts” — lingo for themed accounts that have built up their followings by reposting from other accounts — now charge some users a fee to be featured. One single post on their page could set an Instagrammer back up to $475, Melotti said. Instagrammers pay to be featured to get more potential followers.

Users may also set up “pods” and send their posts to 10-15 other ‘grammers to boost their engagement and make their posts more likely to be seen with the algorithm. Other times they will join what Melotti calls the “Instagram mafia” and comment on each other’s posts to boost the likelihood of their posts being seen on Instagram’s discover page.

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