Now that we are all connected via ‘small world’ communications networks, it’s increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd.
Once you adopt some new product or behaviour, everyone you know, and everyone they know etc., is immediately able to mimic you.
That may be a compliment and no real problem for the innovative, but it’s irritating. Some things that are hard to copy allow this viral memetics to be resisted.
Ringtones are an example. Today’s invention is a ringtone which consists of your own voice saying “Excuse me I have a call.”
This avoids annoying everyone within earshot (much less intrusive than music) but it would have to be said anyway and thus saves the owner some effort (whilst allowing your incoming calls to be distinguished from others’).
It also removes anyone’s incentive to copy, even if that weren’t difficult to achieve.