In the past, the only thing worse than a telephone was a telegram. Everyone was terrified of receiving a telegram. Either it was a charge or it was death. Sometimes it was someone who died and had left you the
victims debts. Naldita dyslexia. Phone, ditto. Phone ringing after ten at night? Death for sure.
For decades telephones were used only to talk (TeleRJ’s not even this, as recalls the classic chronicle by Arnaldo Jabor Damn the phone company in Rio) and we responded in a Pavlovian way to their ringtones.
When cell phones appeared, they were also used only for talking, due to the little conversation time allowed by the batteries of the time, at least. SMS was the first attempt to free us from the dictatorship of the voice.
With smartphones running Symbian and Windows Mobile, it was possible to use ICQ and MSN, but the vast majority of cell phones, even on start of phase smart were still seen as more phones than anything, and one of their great advantages was that we could choose… ringtones.
More savvy nerds developed and unearthed all kinds of programs to convert MIDI files in ringtones, as cell phones became a tad bit more powerful, ringtones in WAV format were possible, so everyone had the Mission Impossible Playing theme.
The least saved people
bought ringtones through primitive operator stores. In this game in 2004 that abomination of the Crazy Frog grossed £40 million.
What nobody predicted is that cell phones would become much more general-purpose communication devices than… phones. To this day I believe that an iPod Touch, which was an iPhone with WIFI only, would be the perfect cell phone if it had the operator’s data signal, without a cell phone number or voice channel attached.
Nowadays, cell phones have never been used so much, and so little has been said on the phone. that the Youth between 16 and 24 uses the cell phone for everything but talking. The number of options is immense, including instant messengers, social media channels and email. No, lie, Jovem™ thinks email and Facebook are old things. They are right.
It no longer makes sense for an intrusive ringtone to interrupt what you are doing. The Younger prefers a discreet notification on the screen, which he is probably looking at, or sent to a Fitbit or MiBand wristband, or an Apple Watch.
Because of this this youngster is putting on the cell phone on mute. And with silent cell phone, nobody cares about ringtones. The same survey found that between 2016 and 2020 the number of ringtones downloaded in the UK dropped from an already paltry 4.6 million to 3.7 million, and I am fully convinced that the vast majority of these downloads were made by old people, not young people.
In Brazil, where Whatsapp is still extremely popular, voice calling has been replaced by asynchronous voice calling, with people sending voice messages that can be perfectly replaced by three or four typed words, but Brazilian has horror to write. With this ringtones still managed to survive, but mostly they are limited to models offered by default by applications.
If the trend continues, one day make a voice call without warning and arrange before it will be considered as abhorrent and socially loathsome as showing up to visit someone without warning, and believe me, it used to be quite common in the past.
still, my ringtone is
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