Then, the ringtone started to go away. I can't peg exactly when it happened, but nearly everyone I know (which I recognize is a small subset of humanity) switched to vibrate. Particularly as texting began to explode in the middle of the decade, it no longer made sense to have a phone constantly dinging every time someone sent you an LOL.
I rarely hear a phone ring these days. Hell, I'm lucky if I catch a stray beep. Only those without much experience in the wireless world continue to derive pleasure from hearing "Achy Breaky Heart" every time an acquaintance calls. A phone on vibrate gives you a slight informational advantage over the people around you, but at the cost of your public identification with a kind of music. Somehow, putting your phone on vibrate seemed politely self-interested, not just plain sneaky.
But I think audio is coming back as a way of communicating with our devices. If everyone starts talking to their phones, I at least get to switch back on my ringer and play the Ying Yang Twins as loud as I want.
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