There was once a time when texting required you to press multiple buttons to type a letter, Snake was the most advanced mobile game available and the phone company charged you for the texts you received. Now looking back, I'm not sure how society survived.
Another one of the most notable relics from that era has to be the phenomenally low quality song clips from world-renowned artists like Soulja Boy and Crazy Frog that filled classrooms and offices as people took advantage of the newest way to flaunt their personality.
Of the four relics I've mentioned in this article so far, three of them are practically non-existent nowadays. However, ringtones have somehow managed to stick around, and despite the inordinate amount of hours I've spent pondering this topic, I can't figure out why.
I know, I know -- you really think the song "Trap Queen" sums up your idea of the perfect relationship and if it doesn't start playing when someone tries to call you, you're missing out on a valuable opportunity to force your personality onto other people.
However, unless you're still rocking a T-Mobile Sidekick, there is virtually no reason to use a ringtone in 2015.
If you are, you're cooler than everyone else and can do whatever you want.
I'm assuming the majority of people reading this have their phone within arm's reach (including the ones briskly scrolling down theirs wondering how long this is going to be), which is exactly why the ringtone has no place in polite society.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you decide to unleash your sound effects on the rest of the world.
Are you by yourself?
Look around. Do you see another person? Is there someone in the general vicinity who you can't actually see but who you know could hear your phone if it went off? If the answer is "yes," then you probably shouldn't have your volume on.
Is your phone in the same room as you?
Over the past few decades, vibration technology has progressed to a point where you now have to avoid leaving your phone on top of furniture from IKEA if you don't want to relive the hellish experience of the building process all over again.
When there isn't much difference between the sound of a text and that of a revving chainsaw, you shouldn't really have to worry about not being able to hear it.
Are you currently looking at your phone?
If you're in a situation where you can both see your phone light up and feel it vibrate when it does, there's really no need to incorporate another one of your senses.
Are you having an ongoing conversation?
I once rode on a train with someone who had decided the world's most annoying whistle was what he wanted to hear whenever he received a text.
During the course of the ride, he received plenty in a seemingly endless exchange of texts that taught me what it's like to be catcalled by a mockingbird.
Once is already too many times when it comes to a ringtone. Don't be this person unless you enjoy getting hit by random objects thrown at you by strangers.
Are you on public transportation?
There are two very important rules to follow when taking the bus or subway: Do not make any noise or eye contact with your fellow passengers.
There's also nothing else to do on public transportation but stare at your phone, so it's not like you're going to need an audio prompt in the first place.
Are you a blind person who can only figure out who's calling because of the custom ringtone you have set for each contact?
Cool. Feel free to use a ringtone whenever you want.