Time hacking: how technologies mediate time

Peter Nagy, Joey Eschrich, Ed Finn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Technologies change users’ existing social, cultural, and material practices by providing new opportunities for reflecting on and managing their lives. As technological advancements pervade our private and professional lives, users are tempted to see them as ‘magic bullets’ that can help them become more organized and efficient. In this paper, we introduce the term ‘time hacking’ to capture the various ways technologies mediate users’ time perception and perspective. We will use the examples of virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa and the Quantified Self Movement to illustrate how people feel that they are capable of hacking time by using devices and programs. Imagining tools as neutral entities that help them better manage their lives in a world that seems increasingly sped up, users are often blind to the multifarious ways these technologies, and the companies that produce them, shape what they attend to and how they make sense of information. The concept of time hacking helps us examine what narratives users construct and share about timesaving tools and how users’ perception of and perspective about time changes in response to emerging technologies. Most importantly, time hacking can help to explain the allure of timesaving technologies, why users might be enthusiastic about taking them up and integrating them into their lives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2229-2243
Number of pages15
JournalInformation Communication and Society
Issue number15
StatePublished - 2021


  • Media studies
  • communication studies
  • human-technology interaction
  • interactivity
  • sociology
  • surveillance/privacy
  • temporality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Library and Information Sciences


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