Phatic Interactions: Being Aware and Feeling Connected

  • Frank Vetere
  • Jeremy Smith
  • Martin Gibbs
Part of the Human-Computer Interaction Series book series (HCIS)

Studies in awareness systems tend to focus on the informational aspects of interactions. This emphasis is warranted in systems that aim to support instrumental activities, such as collaboration and coordination (e.g. Begole and Tang, 2007) or messaging (e.g. Cheverst et al., 2007). Such activities usually involve the use of information, sometimes collected by sensors, about location, status and activity. However, when awareness systems have the core aim to maintain human relationships, the benefits may come not just from the sharing of awareness information per se, but more from the simple act of exchange.


Online Social Network Social Connection Instant Messaging Awareness Information Awareness System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Ashkansy, S., Benda, P. and Vetere, F. (2007). Happy coincidences in designing for social connectedness and play through opportunistic image capture. In Proceedings of Designing User Experience (DUX) 2007. Google Scholar
  2. Begole J. and Tang J.C. (2007). Incorporating human and machine interpretation of unavailability and rhythm awareness into the design of collaborative applications. Human–Computer Interaction, 22, 7–45.Google Scholar
  3. Bickmore, T. W., and Picard, R. W. (2005). Establishing and maintaining long-term human-computer relationships. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), 12(2), 293–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brown, B., Taylor, A., Izadi, S., Sellen, A., Kaye, J., and Eardley, R. (2007). Locating Family Values: A Field Trial of the Whereabouts Clock. Ubicomp 2007: 354–371.Google Scholar
  5. Calvi, L. (2005). Sociability with ubiquitous technologies: A view on phatic interactions. In proceedings of conference, ACM Press.Google Scholar
  6. Cheverst, K., Dix, A., Fitton, D., and Graham, C. (2007). Exploring awareness related messaging through two situated-display-based systems. Human–Computer Interaction, 22, 173–220.Google Scholar
  7. Clark, H. H. (1996). Using Language. Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  8. de Souza, C. S. (1993). The semiotic engineering of user interface languages. International Journal of Man-Machine Studies, 39, 753–773.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Evjemo, B., Svendsen, G. B., Rinde, E., and Johnsen, J. A. K. (2004). Supporting the distributed family: The need for a conversational context. Proceedings of the Third Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, 309–312.Google Scholar
  10. Facebook (2007). accessed on 13 September, 2007.
  11. Fogg, B. J. (2002). Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do. San Fransisco, CA, Morgan Kaufmann.Google Scholar
  12. Fiske, J. (1990). Introduction to Communication Studies. New York, Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. Gibbs, M., Vetere, F., Howard, S. and Bunyan, M. (2005). SynchroMate: A phatic technology for mediating intimacy. DUX: Conference on Designing for User eXperience, San Francisco, CA (3–5 Nov).Google Scholar
  14. Hoffmann, C., Jumpertz, S., and Marquet, B. (2007). On nurturing strong-tie distant relationships: from theory to prototype. Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. CHI ’07, 2411–2416.Google Scholar
  15. Jakobson, R. (1981). Poetry of Grammar and Grammar of Poetry (Vol. 3). The Hague, Mouton.Google Scholar
  16. Kaye, J. (2006). I just clicked to say I love you: rich evaluations of minimal communication. In CHI ’06 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Montréal, Québec, Canada, April 22–27, 2006). CHI ’06. ACM, New York, 363–368.Google Scholar
  17. Licoppe, C. and Smoreda, Z. (2005). Are social networks technologically embedded? How networks are changing today with changes in communication technology. Social Networks, 27(4), 317–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lindsay, P. H., and Norman, D. A. (1972). Human Information Processing. New York, Academic Press.Google Scholar
  19. Malinowski, B. (1949). The problem of meaning in primitive languages. In C. K. Ogden and I. A. Richards (Eds.), The Meaning of Meaning (Tenth ed., pp. 296–336). London, Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd (First ed., 1923).Google Scholar
  20. Markopoulos, P., de Ruyter, B., and Mackay, W. (2007). Introduction to this special issue on awareness systems design. Human–Computer Interaction, 22, 1–6.Google Scholar
  21. Mueller, F., Vetere, F., Gibbs, M., Kjeldskov, J., Pedell, S., and Howard, S. (2005). Hug Over a Distance CHI 2005 (Interactive Poster), Portland, Oregon USA (2–7 April), 1673–1676.Google Scholar
  22. Nadin, M. (1988). Interface design: A semiotic paradigm. Semiotica, 69(3/4), 269–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nardi, B. A., Whittaker, S., and Bradner, E. (2000). Interaction and outeraction: Instant messaging in action. Proceedings of the 2000 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 79–88.Google Scholar
  24. Nöth, W. (1990). Handbook of Semiotics. Bloomingon and Indianapolis, Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Oulasvirta, A., Petit, R., and Raento, M. (2007). Interpreting and acting on mobile awareness cues. Human–Computer Interaction, 22, 97–135.Google Scholar
  26. Pimenta, M. S., and Faust, R. (1997). Eliciting interactive systems requirements in a language-centred user-designer collaboration: A semiotic approach. ACM SIGCHI Bulletin, 29(1), 61–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Prates, R. O., de Souza, C. S., and Garcia, A. C. B. (1997). A semiotic framework for multi-user interfaces. ACM SIGCHI Bulletin, 29(2), 28–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Purchase, H. (1999). A semiotic definition of multimedia communication. Semiotica, 123(3/4), 247–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Reddy, M. J. (1993). The conduit metaphor: A case of frame conflict in our language about language. In A. Ortony (Ed.), Metaphor and Thought (second ed., pp. 164–201). Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Reynolds, C. (1998). As we may communicate. SIGCHI Bulletin, 30(3), 40–44.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Romero, N., Markopoulos, P., Baren, J., Ruyter, B., IJsselsteijn, W., and Farshchian, B. (2007). Connecting the family with awareness systems. Personal Ubiquitous Computer, 11(4), (Apr. 2007), 299–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Schiphorst, T., Nack, F., KauwATjoe, M., de Bakker, S., Stock, Aroyo, L., Rosillio, A. P., Schut, H., and Jaffe, N. (2007). PillowTalk: Can we afford intimacy?. In Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Tangible and Embedded Interaction (Baton Rouge, Louisiana, February 15–17, 2007). TEI ’07. ACM, New York, 23–30.Google Scholar
  33. Schneider, K. P. (1988). Small Talk: Analysing Phatic Discourse. Hitzeroth.Google Scholar
  34. Shannon, C. E., and Weaver, W. (1949). The Mathematical Theory of Communication. Champaign, IL, University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  35. Taylor, A. and Harper, R. (2003). The gift of the gab?: A design oriented sociology of young people’s use of mobiles. Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 12(3), 267–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Thurlow, C. (2003). Generation Txt? The sociolinguistics of young people’s text-messaging. Discourse Analysis Online, 1(1).Google Scholar
  37. Vetere, F., Gibbs, M., Kjeldskov, J., Howard, S., Mueller, F., Pedell, S., Mecoles, K., and Bunyan, M. (2005). Mediating intimacy: Designing technologies to support strong-tie relationships. CHI 2005, Portland, Oregon USA (2–7 April).Google Scholar
  38. Winograd, T. (1988). A language/action perspective on the design of cooperative work. Human Computer Interaction, 3, 3–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Zegarac, V., and Clark, B. (1998). Phatic Interpretations and phatic communication. Linguistics, 35, 24.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank Vetere
    • 1
  • Jeremy Smith
    • 2
  • Martin Gibbs
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Information Technology and Electrical EngineeringUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of Information and Communication TechnologiesSwinburne University of TechnologyHawthornAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Computing, Infolab, Lancaster UniversityLancasterLancashireUK

Personalised recommendations