International Science Index


The Phatic Function and the Socializing Element of Personal Blogs

Abstract:The phatic function of communication is a vital element of any conversation. This research paper looks into this function with respect to personal blogs maintained by Indian bloggers. This paper is a study into the phenomenon of phatic communication maintained by bloggers through their blogs. Based on a linguistic analysis of the posts of twenty eight Indian bloggers, writing in English, studied over a period of three years, the study indicates that though the blogging phenomenon is not conversational in the same manner as face-to-face communication, it does make ample provision for feedback that is conversational in nature. Ordinary day to day offline conversations use conventionalized phatic utterances; those on the social media are in a perpetual mode of innovation and experimentation in order to sustain contact with its readers. These innovative methods and means are the focus of this study. Though the personal blogger aims to chronicle his/her personal life through the blog, the socializing function is crucial to these bloggers. In comparison to the western personal blogs which focus on the presentation of the ‘bounded individual self’, we find Indian personal bloggers engage in the presentation of their ‘social selves’. These bloggers yearn to reach out to the readers on the internet and the phatic function serves to initiate, sustain and renew social ties on the blogosphere thereby consolidating the social network of readers and bloggers.
[1] A. Sullivan, “Why I Blog”, Atlantic Monthly (Internet) November, 302(4), 2008. Available from:< archive/2008/11/why-i-blog/7060/> (Accessed 15 June 2012).
[2] Mallon in J.L. Johnson, Personal Stories Go Worldwide: The Ritual of Storytelling through Weblogs. Unpublished thesis. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library, 2004. Available from: . (Accessed June 12, 2012).
[3] P. Lopate, “Introduction”. In The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present. USA: Anchor Books. 1995.
[4] A. Lenhart and S. Fox, Bloggers: A Portrait of the Internet’s New Storytellers. Report by Pew Internet & American Life Project. Washington, D.C. 2006.
[5] C. Burke, My Diary. Available at . (Accessed 12 March 2015).
[6] Burke, C. (2000) Personal Recollections: Carolyn Burke (Internet). The Online Diary History Project. Available from: <>. (Accessed 12 May 2012).
[7] A letter from Carolyn, Sun May 30 09:16 2004, Carolyn's Diary Republished Available at .(Accessed 12 March 2015).
[8] R. Jakobson, “Linguistics and Poetics”. In: Sebeok, T. (ed.) Style in Language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 1960, p. 350-377.
[9] B. Malinowski, “The Problem of Meaning in Primitive Languages”. In: Ogden C. K. and Richards. I. A. (eds.) The Meaning of Meaning: A Study of Influence of Language Upon Thought and of the Science of Symbolism. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1923.p. 296-336.
[10] V. Žegarac, “What Is Phatic Communication?” In: Rouchota, V. and Jucker A. (eds.) Current Issues in Relevance Theory. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1998. p. 327-361.
[11] A. Wittel, “Toward a Network Sociality”. In Theory, Culture & Society. 18 (6), 2001. p. 51-76.
[12] J. Laver, “Communicative Functions of Phatic Communication”. In: Kendon, A., Harris, R.M. & Key M. R. (eds.) Organization of Behavior in Face-to-Face Interaction. The Hague: De Gruyter Mouton.1975. p. 215
[13] J. Hall, Justin links. Available at
[14] I. Burkitt, Social Selves: Theories of the Social Formation of Personality. London: Sage Publications, 1991.
[15] W. James, “Consciousness of Self”. In Principles of Psychology, 1890. (Internet Archive). Available at . (Accessed 1 September 2014).
[16] C.H. Cooley, Human Nature and the Social Order. New York, Scribner’s. 1902.
[17] G. H. Mead, Mind Self and Society from the Standpoint of a Social Behaviorist (Edited by Charles W. Morris). Chicago: University of Chicago, 1934.
[18] J. M. Baldwin, “The Genesis of the Ethical Self” Philosophical Review, Vol.6 (1897): P.225-241.