“The Internet will not become a mass medium,” said Matthias Horx in 2001. Only a few years later, he caused a stir with another statement: “No one will be talking about Facebook in five to six years”. This quote dates back to 2010. Today, Matthias Horx is considered one of Germany’s most influential trend and futurologists – despite his two obvious misstatements.
Today, Facebook is still the third-largest social media platform with more than 2.9 billion monthly users – if you only consider Facebook directly. The Facebook company also includes, for example, Whatsapp or Instagram, which are ranked first and fourth, respectively, on the list of the largest social media platforms. Even today, Facebook is reported about in the media almost daily, even if this is not always for positive reasons. Facebook repeatedly gets caught up in data protection scandals and thus has to deal with plenty of not necessarily positive press hype.
But all the reports about Facebook wouldn’t even exist if the lead quote in today’s article had been true. The percentage of Internet users worldwide has risen steadily in recent years. In Germany, it was 88% of the population in 2020. On average, Germans spent 1 hour and 24 minutes a day on social media alone in 2020 – not counting the other places where the Internet is consumed. In summary, we see here again how much our view of the Internet and digital media has changed so extremely in less than 20 years. For many people, life without the Internet is unthinkable these days, whereas 20 years ago it was still up for discussion how widespread it would become.
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