Last year, with algorithms funnelling people into ever more specific corners of the internet, users found empowerment in their niches - from ButterTok to r/LiminalSpace. In those smaller spaces, they looked for the kind of pure authenticity and unhampered creativity that defined the early days of social media. Niches were meant to rescue social: to bring it back to its un-commodified roots.
Enter 2023. Offline, a cost of living crisis put everyone’s minds on their wallets.
But looking back to their screens for some respite, users didn’t see a space free from
Instead, even in a fragmented landscape, profit was loudly informing play. Platforms like X
anyone for a price;
brands raced to hop on quick-moving trends, from goblincore
to rat girl summer; algorithms
surfaced lukewarm-but-palatable content rather than fringe creativity;
influencers sang the praises of Shein’s
fast fashion factories.
‘Eat the rich’
might have been pop culture’s favourite storyline, but there was no denying it: money was being
made on social.
For nostalgic users, this was cause to mourn the lost innocence of the early days of MySpace
But for future-facing ones, this meant staging a new kind of revolt: one that reframes how
creativity can coexist with a