IMAS Media Research clearly shows the trend: Since 2000, there has been a tripling of daily Internet use, and the number of heavy social media users has even increased sevenfold in the last seven years: Overall, two-fifths of Austrians are active in Web 2.0 and thus use social media. The virtual world is dividing Austrian society into four communication worlds, with the divide running primarily along age segments. Intensive social media users use the Internet twice as long per day as the general population. The main uses for the Internet are e-mail and online research, followed by social media and online banking. In the under-30 group, the use of social media is already the most important use case.

 A new form of social media is currently the subject of controversial debate in Austria and Germany. A digital platform called "you now" now enables its users to place their own lives in virtual space around the clock. This means that the everyday lives of many young people could soon be broadcast on the Internet in real time and via livestream for the broad, anonymous public to view. The Internet and, in particular, social media are very popular with people under 30 - direct communication, i.e. social interaction in the present, plays a major role. The main use of the Internet in this age group is thus the use of social media.

If we look at Internet use in general, the following trend emerges: the number of people active in the virtual world every day has more than tripled in the last 15 years. Just under half of all Austrians (47 percent to be precise) told IMAS in the 2014 ÖVA (Austrian Consumer Analysis) that they use the Internet almost daily - more than two-thirds of the population are online at least once a month.

The proportion of Internet ascetics, i.e., people who hardly use the Internet or not at all, has decreased by 38 percentage points since 2000. Only 31 percent of Austrians now refuse to use the Internet. However, the trends are now flatter, so usage is only increasing slightly from year to year.

The number of social media users has increased rapidly: Since 2008, the share of intensive users of Web 2.0 applications has risen from three percent to 21 percent, and from nine percent to 40 percent in the extended circle of " off-and-on" users. Social media now permeate society, but also create different areas of application among Internet users, changing usage behavior and different speeds of use.

If we take a closer look at the overall media landscape available, Austrians were divided into four central media user groups in 2014. The Austrian communications world is thus not only divided into two - as it was a few years ago; rather, the digital divide is now reflected in four groups.

In general, only an absolute minority of Austrians do not use the media at all. Therefore, Austrian society can be divided into the following media user types according to the way they use the Internet (see chart).

The population has divided itself into four communication worlds: In the world of the Internet ascetics, people continue to make use of the media in a conventional way, so to speak. Only four percent of Internet ascetics are under 30 years old. In the other three worlds of Internet users, a consistent adaptation to the wide-ranging possibilities of digital information transfer is taking place, and with it a serious change in communication behavior. The difference between these groups lies in the specific use and intensity.

Behind this typology shown in the graph, one can see above all an age gap. Just under three-fifths of intensive users (Type D) are under 30, while general basic Internet users (Type B) are distributed relatively evenly across all age groups.

The activity profile of the Intensive Social Media Users (Type D) also shows a shift in the importance of the individual media. Although this group has the highest media consumption across all central media per day, it is significantly below average in its use of TV, radio and daily newspapers. This reduction in classic media is even more evident among the entire group of under-30s in Austria.

Finally, a demoscopic look at the main uses of the Internet among the population as a whole: these are e-mails and online research, followed by social media and online banking. In the under-30 group, the use of social media is already the most important use case. Here, too, there are clear differences in application by age group. The Internet offers more information channels than ever before, and society and its sub-segments also use them in significantly different ways