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Retrospective Overreporting: How In-Situ and Ex Post Measures on Mobile Social Media Use Differ

Sun, May 27, 14:00 to 15:15, Hilton Prague, Floor: M, Rokoska


Quantifying the ubiquitous, ephemeral, and highly diverse patterns of mobile social media use is a challenge for many studies. Most current research employs retrospective survey measurements to do so, thus depending on the accuracy of users’ memories and generalizations. In-situ measurement, being less dependent on useres’ memories and not requiring generalizations, offers an alternative. In order to assess differences and similarities between these two measurement methods, we analyzed in how far common measures (duration, habit, elaboration, and gratifications) of mobile social media use (regarding Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube) vary between restrospective and in-situ measurement. Overall, we observe a consistent pattern of overreporting in retrospect compared to individual averages of in-situ reports. But, for most constructs and platforms, we find significant, positive correlations between retrospective and aggregated in-situ values. Thus, considering research efficiency, retrospective survey measures might suffice to approcimate mobile social media use regarding purely correlational research questions.