What does your ringtone really say about you? It is not hard to imagine that one day ringtones will join tea leaves, bumps on the skull, and palms as the object by which people foretell your future. One thing is for sure; a ringtone can tell much about your present. An entire personality could be constructed solely on the basis of knowing the ringtone of a person and a few other easily identified facts.
For instance, I once heard this guy’s ringtone go off and the tone was not music at all, but rather a NASCAR starter crying out “gentlemen start your engines!” followed by the vroom-vroom of engines. I also could see the guy drove a pickup truck and I knew he lived in Pensacola. Equipped with only this knowledge I would probably be right on target in guessing this guy holds very conservative political views, drinks Budweiser or Miller beer, watches college football, but maybe not so much pro football, and did not go to college.
But that is an easy one and could probably be said about half the men under 70 living in Pensacola. More difficult is the person with the default midi ringtone. Oh sure, the easy conclusion is that we are talking about either someone too lazy to change the ringtone or someone not technically savvy enough to know how to change the ringtone. In most cases that assumption would probably be correct, but with a little more info, we can figure out that the default ringtone is a matter of conscious choice and the meaning behind it penetrates much deeper into the psychological construct of the phone’s owner. Some people actually choose to stick with that annoying Nokia default ringtone or the equivalent on another brand in order to make an anti-technology statement. This cell phone owner knows how to change the ringtone, and is not too lazy to bother, but sticks with a default ringtone because he wants to tell the world that he is only using a cell phone because it’s convenient and not because they really want one. That simplistic ringtone is this person’s way of denying that he is defined in any way by the technological gadgets he owns. I might be this way, except I really cannot stand those default ringtones.
Most people choose a song for their ringtone and that song can tell an awful lot about a person. I remember having a discussion in a college class about what an open book on a nightstand can say about a person. I proposed that people may read a book for a number of reasons that may offer no serious insight into their personality or psychological makeup, and that if I really wanted to know something about a person I would much rather peek at their CD collection. A person typically only reads a book once in their life, unless it’s their favorite, but they may listen to a song a thousand times. Or at least several hundred times over the course of their lifetime.
Now take that idea and apply it to ringtones. How often does the phone go off, forcing the owner and anyone around to listen to the ringtone song? For me, not all that much. Not many people know my number or even care about calling me. Apparently, there are people out there whose ringtone sounds dozens of times a day. I cannot imagine being that kind of person, but that’s just me. The point is that if you choose to listen to a particular song every time your phone rings, the song you choose probably says a lot about you to someone like Sherlock Holmes or Fitz from the British series Cracker. Of course, just as a cigar is sometimes a cigar, I suppose a Queen song is sometimes just a Queen song. However, my first indication upon hearing someone with a Queen song as their ringtone would be that they are probably over 40, likely to be center-to-left leaning politically, and has a nice job, but nothing that brings in an inordinate amount of dough.
Hearing a rap song as a ringtone tends to instantly bring up a vision of a person in my mind that is usually under 30 years old, could be any race, has spinners on their SUV and is politically apathetic. If I were to ever hear a ringtone on a phone other than my own featuring a Gang of Four song, well, I could figure the person to be over 40, leans way left politically, has never even considered putting spinners on their hybrid car, would vote for Rev. Billy for Mayor of New York if he lived there, and became disillusioned with Barack Obama by the middle of March at the latest. For the record, this does not describe me; although I have had a Gang of Four song as my ringtone in the past, I do not at present. Nor do I drive a hybrid. Yet.
I am one of those people who like to change my ringtone to fit the season. For instance, during October I have had The Ramones’ Pet Sematery and the theme song to Buffy the Vampire Slayer as my ringtone. (This past October I ended the month with another song, but I’ll get to that later.) During Christmas I’ve had Snow Miser, Father Christmas by the Kinks, and Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses as my ringtone. On Independence Day, I might have 4th of July by X. You get the idea: I’ll often change the ringtone to set the mood for a holiday. What does changing the ringtone to fit the theme of a certain period of time say about somebody? Could just say they are festive. Or maybe they just want to share the experience of the moment with others when they are out and about. As for why I do it, well, I suppose I just like to make a statement about the holiday.
It was last October that I chose the ringtone currently on my phone. I did change during December, but went back to my Halloween-era ringtone in January. I’m not sure what my current favorite ringtone says about me, but I suppose it would be interesting to see what a stranger could make of it. My ringtone is currently the theme song to the first season of The League of Gentlemen. What is your ringtone and what might it say about you?