The word "communication" comes from the Latin word communicare, which means "to make common." We communicate not only to transfer information but also to establish and reaffirm identities, mores, and meanings. The two major localities where communication takes place are the consumption of mass media and everyday conversation. While both inform how we view the world, and what is considered important, scant attention has been paid to understanding the nature and shape of everyday communication and charting its impact.
In the entire realm of what is considered communication, arguably the most important part is the everyday conversation - the repeated mundane conversation. I say this not because everyday conversation occupies the most time, for admittedly consuming mass media does that, but because everyday conversation is still the primary site where people seek approval.
While the motivations for entering into a conversation remain largely the same, the nature of everyday conversation has changed dramatically over the last century. Firstly, today the conversation is carried out between socially competitive peers rather than empathetic family members. Secondly the things that provide value, or things that people seek approval on, have changed from "being a good son or daughter or some other social relation" to fickle, competitive identity markets based on consumption of commercial products (or related training like cooking shows, home improvement shows, and travel shows) and entertainment.
In other words, with increasing atomization and resulting heightened anxieties about identity (for we no longer get most of our identity from family or some other archaic system, but through consuming the right kind of entertainment and consuming appropriate products), everyday conversations have effectively become negotiations of cultural identity among social or (generally "and") economic equals.
The negotiation of commercialized cultural identities is done via issues like sports, movies, and other cultural products while contentious topics like politics, religion, and race — with little or no commercial value — are frowned upon as conversation topics. The key ideal in conversation is politeness and conformity. It is just not polite to bring in contentious topics except to mention harmonious approval, cues for which may have been exchanged before.
Given that the motivation for everyday conversation is garnering social approval, attention is paid to storytelling, artful handling of anecdotes, and sarcasm, and not on "accurate" objective reasons. Additionally, the exchange about product preferences is liable to be subjective, hence not eligible for closer scrutiny, and anchored to some accepted commercial shtick or parameters of "coolness" or "hipness."