The myth of the empowered consumer. How social media failed to deliver on its promise.

Short thesis

Social Media was praised to give power to consumers, increasing their opportunity to influence companies and coporations long before (and after) a buying decision.
Social Media experts became rich with consulting companies how to become "user centered", but still, 7 years after the launch of Facebook, so little of that utopia has become true.
We give a in-depth analysis of the role of Social Media for consumers and explore if there is still hope.


  • What would the Utopia of the empowered consumer look like?
  • What would be realistic best and worst case scenarios and where do we see the status quo?
  • How would not only companies but also consumers need to change to make it come true?
  • And how much can capitalism be blamed for all that went wrong?

To answer these question, we analyze different dimensions. We look at the cultural, technical, organisational and of course economical factors that influence the development the relation of companies and consumers on Social Media. Our focus are the barriers that hinder it to be more then just another channel for advertising.

We use practical examples from commercial Social Media campaigns as well as our own experience of consulting MNCs on how to use Social Media.

Of course, we will not only present a devastating analysis but also explore positive trends and tendencies. We will end our talk and open the discussion with our ideas for how to become empowered consumers ourselves.