Small Talk with Facebook: Phatic Communication in Social Media

Ari-Heikki Sarjanoja, Minna Isomursu, Jonna Häkkilä

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we analyzed a data set of 484 unique communication events taking place in Facebook. The key contribution of this paper is the content based analysis showing that people mostly share events from their everyday lives, even if the information is repetitious or does not have any informational meaning, this practice prevailing even though most such updates were regarded as uninteresting ones. Moreover, a considerable amount of status updates was seen to fall into category of 'small talk'. The results show that the communication through Facebook has strong element of phatic communion, i.e. it serves the purpose of maintaining and defining social relationships and enacts social cohesiveness. Our results reveal an interesting contradiction between uninteresting content and (obviously) interesting service; and suggest that small talk type entries can be seen as a tool for increasing one's social capital by being active
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcademicMindTrek '13
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of International Conference on Making Sense of Converging Media
EditorsArtur Lugmayr, Heljä Franssila, Janne Paavilainen, Hannu Kärkkäinen
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery ACM
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-1992-8
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventAcademicMindTrek '13: International Conference on Making Sense of Converging Media - Tampere, Finland
Duration: 1 Oct 20134 Oct 2013


ConferenceAcademicMindTrek '13


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