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Why social media has become sh*t

Have you also noticed that over time, user-friendly platforms evolved into ones that exploit humans for their personal data and therefore essentially turn them into products? Journalist Cory Doctorow describes this process as the ‘enshittification’ of social media.

Originally, social media giants became big by creating valuable experiences for people, offering them unique opportunities to communicate over distance with loved ones. Facebook’s initial purpose, for example, was to conveniently and genuinely connect students around Harvard University. However, through natural networking effects it attracted more users, who in turn invited others, which eventually made it a rapidly growing social media platform.

As Facebook and other social networks evolved, they started to shift their added value to advertisers and publishers instead of prioritising the needs of people. People’s feeds began to fill up with unwanted ads and many businesses became dependent on social media for visibility and revenue generation. Social networks then capitalised on this dependency and seized almost all the value they created, thus ‘enshittifying’ their platforms further. This resulted in an even heavier advertising load for users and greatly increased costs for businesses.

While many people are left with just enough value to stay attached to the platforms, others start turning their backs on them, looking for what Facebook initially was made for. Chand Rajendra-Nicolucci, who researches digital public infrastructure at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, said that social media’s future might be ‘more private and more fragmented. ‘He and his colleagues envisioned a ‘pluriverse’ consisting of existing platforms and an ecosystem of ‘very small online platforms’ — private communities and niche services for more intimate and interest-specific conversations. What would this shift in how we use social media mean for brands and organizations? What valuable role can they play in setting up smaller groups based on people’s shared interests?

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Kim Pillen


Before Kim Pillen started as a trend consultant at TrendsActive, she worked for four years as a creative strategist at Dept. For brands such as Philips,, Beiersdorf, JBL, and the Consumers’ Association, she built (online) campaign, brand, and social media strategies. After four years, she decided that she wanted to better understand people and society in order to advise brands more effectively. That’s how she ended up at TrendsActive. Here, she can do what she loves most: digging into people’s needs and then working with brands to see how and where they can be relevant and meaningful.

Douwe Knijff


Douwe is fascinated by how people work. With a background in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (Bachelor) and Psychology (Master) and an analytical mind he tries figure out how societal shifts manifest themselves through social culture and human behaviour.

Aljan De Boer

Keynote speaker

Aljan has been widely recognized as an inspiring professional speaker on the critical trends that will shape society in the decades to come. He works as the Head of Inspiration at TrendsActive, a trend consultancy from the Netherlands using social science to human-proof business decision for brands like

  • Disney
  • Vodafone
  • Hugo Boss
  • ASR
  • Rabobank

Next to his role at TrendsActive he is the Community Director at the Institute for Real Growth where he inspires and connects a global community of +400 CMOs.  

He has been on the board of the Dutch Platform of Innovative Marketing for almost a decade. Regular speaker and moderator for the Dutch Marketing Awards and 3 times winner of the best of MIE. 

Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist

Kees his purpose is to help ambitious leaders and brands to human-proof their business. In 2003 he founded TrendsActive, a trend consultancy enabling brands to become more human centric.

Kees consults global brands like

  • Disney
  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • Asics
  • Discovery Channel
  • Swiss Life
  • Vodafone

and many more.

Next to being the founder of TrendsActive, he is also initiator of the first academic trend master for executives at the University of Utrecht and is initiator of various trend studies and white papers on subjects like trust, meaning, visual culture & generations.


Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist

Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist