Other bakers who want to participate message the host and ask to be added to a private chat. These bakers then encourage one another, using the theme as inspiration. On a specific date everyone in the collab posts photos of their results, tagged with that collab’s hashtag.
Though each participant is toiling in a separate kitchen with their own resources, a temporary community forms around a specific baking assignment. “It’s about people wanting to be educated on how to create something or how to bake something or if they’re having issues with something they’re creating,” said Ms. Walton. In the private chats, she explained, “you get to know the people quite well. People will come and share photos of their families. It’s not just, ‘Here’s my creation.’ We create a lot of friendships.”
Interest in baking surged during the pandemic, in part because it’s a comforting activity that you can do alone without leaving your house. And as millions of young people found themselves marooned inside and at home, this newfound interest inevitably spilled over to Instagram.
The rise of collabs helped turn the platform into a hub for new creative partnerships, connecting bakers around the world in common projects: swapping tips, comparing notes and egging each other on.