The Null Device

What your ringtone says about you

Everybody's trash to somebody, baby: A psychologist has claimed that your mobile phone ringtone says a lot more about you than you may like. For example, young schoolgirls choose Top 10 pop songs to fit in; if young, competitive men, however, choose pop songs, they do so to make themselves look "safe" and camouflage their manipulative, sexually predatory natures. Meanwhile, themes from action movies are frequently chosen by young professionals who want to be seen as dynamic problem-solvers; however, those who have the time to set up their phones like that typically have dull lives that fail to live up to this image:
"They don't have huge excitement in their lives but like to think that they do. I doubt you'd find a firefighter or ambulance driver with a ring tone like that."

(via Techdirt)

There are 17 comments on "What your ringtone says about you":

Posted by: Ritchie Sun Jan 5 16:30:33 2003

It fails to mention people who set their phone to vibrate instead of ring

Posted by: Ben http://www.unknownnews.net Sun Jan 5 20:33:13 2003

Thank heavens we have psychologists to tell us these things. Next they'll discover that the way people dress and act towards others tells you a lot about their personality.

Posted by: Graham http://grudnuk.com Mon Jan 6 00:53:56 2003

QUite a few people I know seem to prefer pluging their own tunes (or tunes from obscure indie bands) into the phone. That could mean anything...

Posted by: Andrew http:// Mon Jan 6 03:16:21 2003

What's it mean when your girlfriend has one of your own songs as her phone ring?

Posted by: alex Mon Jan 6 08:11:24 2003

who pays the piper calls the tune? no, wait.

hey have you seen the feature that some phones have that let you record 'anything' as your ring tone?

cliche: the motorhead who has the sound of the engine revving on his own car, or on his dream car. good work duuude.

urbane: the friend who has his own voice saying "kevin! phone!". (O_o)

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org Mon Jan 6 08:16:48 2003

Given the crappy sound quality of phones, the whole idea sounds a bit poxy. I'm not sure I'd want a muffled, underwater rendition of a riff from a song recorded by holding a phone to the speaker.

Now if you could upload WAV files or MP3s to the phones, having recorded them on proper gear, i'd be a different matter.

Posted by: Simstim http:// Mon Jan 6 10:19:24 2003

So if girls do action A then it means they're just fitting in, if, however, boys do action B then it clearly can't be for the same reason as girls, oh no... Reminds me why I so dislike psychologists.

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org Mon Jan 6 12:33:35 2003

Typical social behaviours among (neurologically typical) adolescent boys and girls differ, because of some combination of nature and nurture. (And adolescents are under the most pressure to conform to typical behaviours.)

Posted by: mrsmalkav Mon Jan 6 18:13:58 2003

hah, that's great. i find it more telling who *recognizes* my ringtone (rotates between galaga, super mario brothers, or pac man). so far, i've had only one person come up to me and go "hey! is that super mario brothers??" and that was girl in a bead shop. :D

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org Tue Jan 7 04:09:34 2003

I had the same experience when I had the City of Lost Children theme (the organ-grinder's melody) as my ringtone. Only about two people recognised it (one of them was a musician friend of mine who corrected some mistakes I made with it).

Currently it rotates between TCoLC, Ninetynine's _Polar Angle_, The Smiths' _There Is A Light That Never Goes Out_ and the piano bit from Radiohead's _Fitter Happier_.

Posted by: mark http://cyberfuddle.com/infinitebabble/ Tue Jan 7 07:35:36 2003

City of Lost Children theme? Christ, you'd be dreading every time the phone rings!

That's the only piece of music creepier than Shostakovic's Waltz No 2 and Liszt's Danse Macabre combined...

Posted by: alex Tue Jan 7 14:06:05 2003

I was hoping this wouldn't degenerate into an 'i've got this' discussion ... heh.

My crowning achievement was the raucous theme to 'Rhubarb and Custard' from the ABC/BBC. Needs a coarse tone though.

The time signature and syncopation in Super Mario Brothers made it too hard for me to compose. I dips me lid!

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org Tue Jan 7 15:36:29 2003

That'd be all those chromatic notes, Mark. Though I don't think it's that creepy.

Posted by: sam http://www.humbug.net Wed Jan 8 14:55:14 2003

I used to have Kraftwerk's "The Telephone Call" before I got the TCoLC song from acb. Friends at uni became so accustomed to it that they'd often sing it, even though they'd never even heard of Kraftwerk!

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org Wed Jan 8 16:22:32 2003

A friend of mine has "We Are The Robots". He got it from the free credit he got with the phone, and his unit can't send tones. (Must be a new DRM measure to keep the Ringtone Industry Association of Wherever happy or something.)

Posted by: Graham http://grudnuk.com Thu Jan 9 14:28:45 2003

I tried plugging in one of the themes from Amelie until I realised I was killing it. Right now I've got the main hook from Antlerland's Wronghead.

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org Thu Jan 9 15:12:50 2003

Hmm.. I have FourPlay's Meshugganah as well, though it's set only to ring for a few select callers.

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