Likes and Fragments: Examining Perceptions of Time Spent on TikTok

by   Angelica Goetzen, et al.

Researchers use information about the amount of time people spend on digital media for a variety of purposes including to understand impacts on physical and mental health as well as attention and learning. To measure time spent on digital media, participants' self-estimation is a common alternative method if the platform does not allow external access to directly measure people's time spent. However, prior work raises questions about the accuracy of self-reports of time spent on traditional social media platforms and questions about the cognitive factors underlying people's perceptions of the time they spend on social media. In this work, we build on this body of literature by exploring a novel social platform: TikTok. We conduct platform-independent measurements of people's self-reported and server-logged TikTok usage (n=255) to understand how users' demographics and platform engagement influence their perceptions of the time they spend on the platform and the accuracy of their estimates. Our work adds to the body of work seeking to understand time estimations in different digital contexts, and identifies new engagement factors that may be relevant in future social media time estimation studies.


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