communication with little hard, informational content, but lots of emotional and social content. Phatic communications doesn't get much said, but it has social effects so powerful, it gets lots done.
The phatic messages "stack" nicely, each message presupposing and building on its predecessor. These messages are:
1. I exist. 2. I'm ok. 3. You exist. 4. You're ok. 5. The channel is open. 6. The network exists. 7. The network is active. 8. The network is flowing.
When I use Twitter or Facebook to say that I am entertaining my cat, no one, I'm pretty, sure gives a good God damn that I am entertaining my cat. But they are reminded that they have someone called Grant McCracken exists in their network." (http://www.cultureby.com/trilogy/2007/07/how-social-netw.html)