Image via CrunchBaseJust recently I was at a learning conference where Twitter came up at our table; we were attempting to generate forms of expressive language activities and microblogging made the list. Not really knowing much about it, the others turned to me and asked what I thought of Twitter. As you know, I'm still a bit undecided on the real usefulness of this web app and have really tried to analyze how this all might be related to personality type.
What I then shared with the group was a comment (see below) I'd found a few days earlier at a post regarding Twitter in the classroom. Of most interest was the term "phatic", meaning "an expression whose only function is to perform a social task, as opposed to conveying information". Additionally, think of phatic expressions as "words used to convey any kind of social relationship e.g polite mood, rather than meaning; for example, "How are you?"
Twitter makes me paranoid. I've always thought of it as a form of phatic monologue/dialogue - most posts are speech acts which contain little informative substance, and simply prolong the act of communication. Instead of having a specific, utility-based purpose, they reaffirm that the "channel" (in this case, the Internet) works as a medium. Naturally, there's a level of addictiveness that arises as the user continually seeks confirmation that his/her Twittering is "heard" ... comment left by Jess
It is a very interesting thought. I can attest that Twitter can be very "phatic" at times and I thought the resulting addictiveness cycle worthy of some thought. Had never heard anyone put it quite this way.
I'd best not send out a Tweet of this new post. ;)