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  • Paul Davidson

Your Cell Phone Ringtone Isn’t Fooling Anyone

50 Cent’s “In Da House Club” is probably the only rap song you know.

There you stand, in the middle of the office, throwing your hands up to the sky in what you call your “raisin’ the roof” mode, dancing to your ringtone as someone (supposedly) is calling you on the other line. For all we know, you’ve got your old cell phone with Mozart’s 5th as a ringtone calling your new one over and over and over again…

Because you’ve got 50 Cent’s “In Da House Club” as your ringtone.

You are white. You are well-off. You have had everything handed to you on a silver platter. Yet, you were one of those kids in high school who wore baggy pants that caused you to trip on your face a few times a day, in homage to your “boyyyyyzzzzz”, Kriss Kross.

And now look at you. You and your ringtone.

– – –

I find people and their ringtones to be an extremely silly combination these days. It’s sort of like the technologically updated version of a man and his dog. We tool around this little object that periodically throughout the day makes beautiful (or annoying) music when it rings. And that ringtone is something we’ve gone out and hand-picked (like picking out a pet at a store or a puppy-mill) because we think that it represents us and/or says something about us that we want the world to surmise about our personality.

I am not immune to the disease. My current ringtone on my Sidekick is the music from AC/DC’s Back in Black. I, apparently, want the world to see me as a “sex, drugs & rock n’ roll” rebellious rule-breaker with a penchant for big hair. (I think.)

In my travels throughout the world (i.e. Los Angeles) I have collected data on the types of people and the types of ringtones they have paired themselves with. Here are some of my findings:

Republican White Guy: 50 Cent’s “In Da House Club” Insecure, Nerdy White Guy: Phantom Planet’s “California” Average, Quirky White Girl: The Dukes of Hazzard Theme Song Elderly Man: Something by The Chemical Bros. Hip, Cool Black Guy: Handel’s Messiah Very Hot Girl: Whatever Came Set on the Phone as Default

These few observations have convinced me that deep down, those who are most comfortable with their own personalities usually opt for something very basic and average. Is this possibly because they have so little time to worry about crafting an image based on a ringtone?

Those who seem less comfortable with who they are, and want people to perceive them as a different personality type most often work tirelessly to find a ringtone that appropriately communicates the type of “gangsta” or “hip dude” they want people to think they’re like. And ringtones are so subtle in that the user never has to say “I’m so street” because the phone is doing it for them on a subconscious level.

It may just be me, but I see a thesis hidden somewhere in here.

Do you?

In other news, tomorrow brings us full circle to another edition of “Words For Your Enjoyment”… where you provide the idea, I steal it, and make a subtle reference to your own website without making you look too good. Really, it’s just like the cut-throat world of American Business!

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