Should Reading Be Competitive?

On a couple of new and upcoming book sites that I've joined(LeafMarks and Literally) they've added achievement like systems where you can earn badges for your profile by doing certain things on the site. I think this is pretty cool. I love achievements and personal challenges. However LeafMarks(and I think something similar to this is planned for Literally as well) has added a competitive aspect to the achievements.

 

In addition to personal challenges where you can set how many books you want to read in a certain amount of time, there are also friend challenges where you have to compete with your friend to see who can complete a goal first and there is a badge that you can't earn unless you participate in this aspect of the site.

 

They have also created badges that you can't earn unless you rank in the top 100 for number of reviews written, liked reviews, and followers. This really rubs me the wrong way. I guess I just really don't like leader-board type things at all as I'm not a competitive person, but since I love achievements, and there are achievements that I can't get without being competitive, this creates a real conflict. With the friend competition badge I could get that one just by winning one(and then the number on the badge would change with each additional win). Trying for the top 100 badges would require a ton of competitive work though.

 

Perhaps I'd feel differently if I thought I actually had a chance at gaining the top 100 badges. Other members have distinct advantages over me though. I've only been tracking/reviewing my reading for the past year, so members who started doing that long before me have a big head start that I will likely never be able to catch up with, not to mention that lots of people read much faster than I do. Then the top 100 badges for most likes and followers bothers me even more because it pretty much just amounts to a popularity contest. I guess for those badges you have to have a ton of reviews as well as being well known/liked and I've never been a highly social person.

 

I really wish that all of the achievements were things that everyone could get if enough time and effort was put in so no one would have to feel left out. I guess I'm just going to have to accept the fact that I won't be able to gain all of the achievements. I don't know, maybe it would be possible for me to get in the top 100 ranks if I worked hard and long enough, but trying to be competitive about reading would just take the enjoyment out of it for me and I really feel like reading isn't something that should be done competitively. Obviously a lot of people feel differently though, or this sort of thing wouldn't be added to these sites to begin with.

 

This really reminds me of an online biofeedback/meditation website I used to use a lot. There were personal achievements for completing certain goals/activities and I loved that, but then they started putting in leader-boards for competitive group meditation and also for "meditation for charity" type events. It might be debatable whether reading should or shouldn't be competitive, but I would vehemently state that meditation should not and I was extremely disappointed in the direction that site took.

 

I guess I just don't understand why everything has to be a competition with people. Reading should be about the journey you take every time you open a book, not about who can read/review the most or who can gain the most likes and followers.