Small talk

Small talk falls on the other end of the continuum; it is speech that prioritizes social function. Think of this exchange: "How's it going?" "Oh, pretty good." There's not zerosemantic content in there — presumably "pretty good" excludes "dying at this exact moment," so that's some information. But the primary function of those speech acts is social, not to say something but to do something, i.e., make contact, reaffirm shared membership in a common tribe (whatever it may be), express positive feelings (and thus lack of threat), show concern, and so forth. These are not unimportant things, not "small" at all, really, but they are different from communicating semantic content.
Small talk — particularly in its purest form, phatic communion — is a context in which language has an almost ritualistic quality. The communication of ideas or information is secondary, almost incidental; the speech is mainly meant to serve the purpose of social bonding. It asks and answers familiar questions, dwells of topics of reliable comity, and stresses fellow feeling rather than sources of disagreement.
This helps explain the ubiquity of sports in small talk, especially male small talk. Sporting events are a simulation of conflict with no serious consequences, yet they generate enormous amounts of specific information. They are a content generator for small talk, easing the work of communion.

David Roberts on why he finds small talk so excruciating.

There is friction anytime there is a mismatch between how two people use a communications medium (in this case, face-to-face conversation). It's strange to me when people use Twitter to post photos of their family, but that's largely because I use Facebook or Instagram for that.

My issue with small talk is its information scarcity. Brian Christian's brilliant book The Most Human Human helped me realize the critical role of conversational entropy in the human experience. Small talk rates very low on entropy, so not surprisingly, it's the type of conversation A.I. can most easily imitate.

Still, in the ebb and flow of a conversation, chasing after too much entropy or novelty, pursuing an unbroken line of odd or probing questions and thoughts, can be its own faux pas. Your conversation partner may feel they're being assaulted. Managing that delicate balance, knowing when to push, when to pull back, that is the art of social grace and charisma.