Welcome To BookTok: Understanding the Impact of TikTok on Reading Motivation



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Background: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic-related shutdowns and quarantines, digital spaces like TikTok have played a more prominent role in our social interactions and community development. #BookTok (the TikTok sub-community for booklovers) has served as a reading space and supportive reading community for TikTok users. This digital social media space illustrates how users' choices within #BookTok influence or impact motivation to engage in reading. Purpose: This mixed-methods study focused on the following: (a) determined reading motivation factors specific to #BookTok users, (b) captured the shifts of #BookTok users' reading motivation, and (c) measured the types and frequency of #BookTok participation and the correlation to an individual's degree of reading motivation. The research questions guiding this study were (1) What factors contribute to a #BookTok user's reading motivation? (2) Do #BookTok users experience a shift in their reading motivation and identity? If so, what shifts took place? (3) How do types of #BookTok participation and frequency impact an individual's current reading motivation? Methods: This exploratory sequential study design had three distinct phases. In phase 1, quantitative data collection took place using the survey instrument, BookTok and Reading Motivation (BRM) scale. The quantitative data analysis used descriptive statistics, exploratory factor analysis (EFA), and inferential statistics (ANOVA and Pearson's r correlation) according to participant demographics and motivation scores. Random sampling supported participant recruitment for 525 survey participants, with 450 responses eligible for data analysis. Phase 2 utilized survey responses to determine interview constructs and screen for eligible interviewees resulting in 6 interviews. Phase 3 included analysis for participant interviews using open and iterative coding for emerging themes. This phase also integrated quantitative and qualitative data findings to answer the study's research questions. Results: #BookTok users' reading motivations revealed intrinsic factors associated with positive emotional experiences, social capital, and community factors. #BookTok users experienced shifts in their reading motivations and identity due to experiencing unmotivating factors such as lack of access to texts, seeing reading as only a school-based task, and using rewards, recognition, or competition as extrinsic motivation factors. TikTok participation in viewing #BookTok videos resulted in the strongest correlation to reading motivation. Participants associated their motivation to read texts to create content or as a result of viewing #BookTok content. Conclusion: This study highlights the need to reexamine ways scholars, literacy experts, and educators define reading motivation particularly for adolescent and adult readers. This study calls to include more self-efficacy, affective, and community components as impactful factors of reading motivation. Additionally, this study shows a need for K-12 educators to acknowledge intrinsic forms of reading motivation as impactful factors in order to create a more positive reading community and emotional experience for reading development. Lastly, this study suggests that digital spaces, like #BookTok, leverage authentic reading practices for individuals to support life-long reading motivations.



TikTok, BookTok, Digital literacies, Reading motivation