Ringtone Etiquette

May 28, 2009 § 1 Comment

I work for a company that sells ringtones for cell phones. I used to help test them here at work, and let me tell you, there are some annoying ringtones out there. (Why would anyone want “Bicycle” by Queen as their ringtone?)

I’m all for individualization, and I guess that’s where the whole ringtone craze falls in — ideally, the personalized ringtone serves two purposes: 1.) Allow me to add my personal flair to something that would normally be boring, and 2.) be easily distinguishable so I know when it’s my phone and not yours.

But people, work with me here. Cell phone technology has come a long way, and I need your help to make sure people are staying ahead of the curve.

1. Polytones are not cool anymore: On my first cell phone, I found out that I could create my own ringtone. Do a little research on the web, go to the right screen on the phone, type in 8271630*372#019272*#3992347*3129873098*3827#2981639374 and somehow my phone magically played the Top Gun Theme. But that was in 2003, and I was ridiculously behind the “cool curve” on getting a cell phone. Now, phones can play full MP3 tracks of just about every song ever made. There is no reason for me to have to hear the Mario Brothers Tabernacle Choir’s version of “Kiss Me Through The Phone” every time you get a call.

2. Alerts are supposed to be short: Some people like to have a little mini ringtone that plays every time they get a text message. (Not my thing, but I get it.) But let’s get something straight — this is called an alert. It should not be a full 15-second ringtone. (Yes, I’m talking to you lady 3 cubes down.)

3. Don’t outdate yourself with your ringtone: If you are going to go the route of personalization with your ringtone, then this becomes a lifestyle choice that you constanly have to update to stay in touch with the times. So, you either need to pony up the $2.99 a month to stay current with the music on your phone, or you have to buy a classic that won’t go bad. (Basically what I’m saying is: Ladies, if your ringtone is still “My Humps,” you’re doing it wrong.)

4. Ringback tones are just confusing: I’m pretty sure my grandmother wouldn’t know what to do if she called me and instead of a phone ringing she heard “Don’t Stop Believing.” I think the ringback tone was a good idea, it just didn’t work. Let’s all just pretend it didn’t happen, and move on.

5. Answer your stupid phone: I don’t care how cool/funny/witty/whatever you think your ringtone is. When it’s ringing, the most important thing in your life is to make it stop ringing. The time it takes the average person to switch from “Oh, that ringtone is pretty cool” to “Answer the damn phone already!” is approximately 1.3 seconds. You should never wait for a reaction from people so you can give them the “Pretty awesome, huh?” head nod as you groove to the first 10 seconds of “Baby Got Back.”

Anything I forgot?

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§ One Response to Ringtone Etiquette

  • Jane says:

    I’m still envisioning Granny wondering what was up while listening to a “Don’t Stop Believing” ringback tone. For some reason, it’s cracking me up this morning.

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