Caleb T. Carr, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Communication











Research Navigation Overview Online Identity Masspersonal Communication Research Outlets

News Blotter


March, 2018 New Media & Society

Our articulation of the Masspersonal Communication Model. For at least two decades, communication scholars have lamented the intradisiciplinary chasm between interpersonal and mass communication. The concept of masspersonal communication bridges this historic divide, identifying messages that are personalized yet accessible. Particularly in social media, masspersonal communication reflects a convergence of previously-siloed thinking. Championed by Dr. Patrick O'Sullivan, he kindly let me tag along on this one.


February, 2018 Communication Research Reports

What makes a social media post "successful?" findings from a survey of college student Facebook users indicate social comparison (how many we see comparable others receive) and reciprocity norms (those who Like more expect more Likes in return) guide perceptions of successful self-presentation. The fifth in our growing collaboration we lovingly refer to as "the Liking Studies," with the amazing Dr. Rebecca A. Hayes and Dr. Erin M. Sumner (nee Bryant).


September, 2017 Journal of Social Psychology

For decades it was thought the mere disclosure of one's religion enhanced perceptions of a speaker. New research revisits this assumption through a social identity lens. Findings reveal that it is not the mere disclosure of one's religion, but rather the congruence between the discloser's and target's religious beliefs that predicts attributions of professionalism in a business context. Now out in the Journal of Social Psychology.


July, 2017 Management Communication Quarterly

Why would a voice-over artist feel compelled to include a photo in her/his profile? Such was the guiding question of a recent article in MCQ, exploring the effects of various text- and pictographic-disclosures either related or not related to job tasks on employability within the micro-task service Fiverr. A great piece with some excellent collaborators:
Robbie Hall (now at Nebraska)
Adam Mason (now at Michigan State)
Eric Varney (now at Bradley)




The overarching theme of my research has been to look at the nature of human interaction as it has been affected by computer-mediated channels. I am generally interested in mediated communication, organizational communication, and group communication, particularly when two or more of these fields combine. Though this research can (and has) taken many forms, currently I am interested primarily in two lines of research: (1) Online identity and (2) Implications and applications of masspersonal communication.

Please click here for a html version of my CV, including links to selected papers and to downloadable copies of my CV.


Online Identity


"Back in the day" (which, most people are surprised to learn, was a Tuesday) you got to know someone by talking to them face-to-face. Erving Goffman has told us that was often an unfortunate way to do things because we were forced to interact with access to all cues of our communicative partners available, which could quickly disclose individual stigma. Computer-mediated communication has presented a radically different means to communicate, both to construct our own identities and to interpret the identity of others. We are only now beginning to understand the role of the cues we unknowingly transmit online: screen names, avatars, and even the time it takes to type. Is it possible that we have evolved to begin to draw new sets of cues to immediately judge someone; not by physical defects but because they don't interact online the "right" way? As any eighth grader will tell you, there are appropriate times to use "lol" just as there are circumstances when it shouldn't be used. How do we learn what cues are important to make attributions about someone online, and how do those cues affect our perceptions of those interactants?

My current research projects explore how online interactions can intensify the attributional effects of identity cues, both for self-perception and of employers' perceptions of job applicants in the hiring process.


Masspersonal Communication


Since its inception, the communication discipline has reflected a bifurcation of mass and interpersonal communication, both in its structure and its theories. Yet, scholars have increasingly called this separation a "false dichotomy" (Reardon & Rogers, 1988). Seeking to bridge these areas and perhaps negate that false dichotomy, O'Sullivan (2005) proposed the concept of masspersonal communication, denoting communication that is either: (1) mass communication via an interpersonal channel; (2) interpersonal communication via a mass channel; or (3) the convergence of mass and interpersonal communication. Though certainly masspersonal communication was possible via legacy technologies, social media have made masspersonal communication even more timely and relevant, and provides new opportunities for theories of both human and mediated (particularly "new" media) communication. Large parts of my work are now either explicating and directly testing the masspersonal model of communication, or are applying the masspersonal concept to understand how this under-researched convergence of previously distinct concepts affects interactions in several contexts, including advertising and education.

Current research projects into masspersonal communication further explicate and set boundaries for the concept and model alike, as well as explore how explore how SNSs and other online social media tools may affect masspersonal messages and resultant perceptions and effects.


Research Outlets


My work has appeared in several peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Human Communication Research, Communication Research, and the Journal of Applied Communication Research. In addition, I have been fortunate to coauthor several chapters, including Strategic use of social technology: An interactive perspective of social psychology, The dynamics of intergroup communication, and The networked self: Identity, community, and culture on social network sites.

I present regularly at the annual meetings of the International Communication Association, was a former member of the National Communication Association, and have received several awards at both. I also occasionally submit work to the Academy of Management, Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, and Computers and Human Interaction.

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