Some More Thoughts On Twitter

From Ian Curry at frog design: Twitter: The Missing Messenger

He makes the connection between Twitter and Tumblelogs too. But there’s two bits in his post that I especially like.

basically blogging reduced to what the Russian linguist Mikhail Bakhtin
called “the phatic function.” Like saying “what’s up?” as you pass
someone in the hall when you have no intention of finding out what is
actually up, the phatic function is communication simply to indicate
that communication can occur.


Or is it, as one of my co-workers pithily put forth, merely “Dodgeball for people who don’t go out”.

Or is it both ;-)

2 thoughts on “Some More Thoughts On Twitter”

  1. Love Bakhtin, love the idea of phatic communication – althought I always thought it meant a bit more than just expressing that communication was possible.

    In fact I started thinking about this in reference to Heath’s new ‘message is redundant thinking’. Phatic expressions have no semantic function, but they perform social functions – they are expressions of warmth, or ‘grooming’ [in the monkey not pedo sense].

    So if messages aren’t really important, maybe the best brand communication can be thought of as phatic.

    “Hello! How are you! Nice to see you! Thanks for coming by!”

  2. Hmmm… Bakhtin rocks and I wonder what he’d say about twitter…

    The idea of Phatic communication works neatly in the context of Twitter: it refers to language used for establishing an atmosphere or maintaining social contact rather than exchanging of ideas, or, in other words, conversational speech used to communicate sociability more than information.

    So it’s sociability for the sake of sociability, which is not a bad thing I guess.

    But my problem with twitter is the combination of phatic communications and it’s monologic nature.

    I was actually more convinced with disambiguity’s argument about twitter as a technology for “ambient intimacy”:

    “It makes us feel closer to people we care for but in whose lives we’re not able to participate as closely as we’d like. Knowing these details creates intimacy. (It also saves a lot of time when you finally do get to catchup with these people in real life!) It’s not so much about meaning, it’s just about being in touch.”

    good read:

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