As practitioners of public relations like to say, perception is reality. That's why voter polls are always big news in political reporting. They gauge public perception which translates into opinion, which politicians worry about even though they deny it.
It wasn't that long ago, just in 1995, that scientist Clifford Stoll dismissed the Internet as something that was little more than a fad. He confidently declared in various news outlets at that time that the online experience was being "grossly oversold" and that it would be dead in two or three years. Would anyone, especially we in California, disagree that he was a bit off the mark?