"Instagram is a huge pyramid scheme," said Gerald of GrepMed, which he grew to 10,000 followers on Instagram. He followed, liked, and commented on posts from people around his same popularity level. He joined "pods" of users for mutual post engagement and cross-promoted with users who had similar content. Once he hit 500 followers, momentum began to build on its own as Instagram's algorithm exposed his posts to more followers. And as his popularity rose, people with fewer followers began to ride his coattails by liking and commenting on his posts in an attempt to get to the top themselves.