Scott Campbell

Scott W. Campbell, PhD is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Pohs Professor of Telecommunications at the University of Michigan. His scholarship helps explain mobile communication as a distinctive media context, its uses and consequences, and associated tensions between the private and public realms of social life. Scott’s work is published in Journal of Communication, Human Communication Research, Communication Monographs, Communication Research, New Media & Society, and other scholarly venues. He has also co-edited two books and collaborated with the Pew Internet & American Life Project on a foundational study of teens and mobile communication. Scott serves an Associate Editor of Human Communication Research and serves on a number of editorial boards, including Journal of Communication, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, New Media & Society, Mobile Media & Communication, and others. Before joining Michigan, Scott spent three years on faculty at Hawaii Pacific University. Prior to his academic life, he worked in the new media industry, including a project management role for Sprint PCS at the time they launched the first national digital mobile network in the United States.


Mobile Communication and Network Privatism. Reaching In at the Expense of Reaching Out?

As the traditional analog cell phone evolved to offer enhanced digital services, mobile communication has emerged as the fastest and most widespread diffusing communication technology on the planet. Along with its rise to critical mass, and ultimately market saturation, a small but growing body of research and theory has developed to identify and explain the social implications of mobile communication. In this talk, I will discuss my work in one of the core streams of research and theory in this new field of study. In particular, I will discuss my investigations into claims that mobile communication in the intimate realm of core ties fosters social insularity — a recurring theme in the literature that I characterize as “network privatism”.

As I will discuss, several leading scholars argue that using mobile devices to maintain perpetual contact with core network ties comes at the expense of open civic dialogue, political involvement, and engagement with diverse, weak, and new ties. My work in this area sheds new light on whether and how “reaching in” through mobile communication comes at the expense of “reaching out” to be a more open and engaged member of community and society. It also points to new avenues for research and theory building as this line of inquiry continues to develop.