On phatic technologies for creating and maintaining human relationships

Victoria Wang, J. Tucker, T. Rihll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In our time, with the growth in the Internet and associated technologies, technology and society are increasingly integrated. Although technology studies focus on the development of technical artefacts, systems and techniques, and their relation to society, current theories of technology do not seem to be sufficient to provide an understanding of new phenomena to be found in the intimate union between Internet technologies – our primary interest – and contemporary society. In this paper, we explore a concept of phatic technology in light of various technologies and theories about technology and society. The nature of a phatic technology is to establish, develop and maintain human relationships. Many technologies exhibit some degrees of phatic use. Examples range from telephones to software for social networking and building cybercommunities. We suggest that the Internet is a primary source of phatic technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-51
Number of pages8
JournalTechnology in Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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