Lamentably, I think this metric [of emphasizing a user’s popularity on a network] will come to define the experience for the next generation of social networks. I fear that the internet’s utility for many people will equate to constant awareness of one’s value, and the play of meaningless games to increase the sum.

Zach Klein on Tumblr’s new ‘Tumblarity’ metric.

I completely agree, but only insofar as this is the beginning of what’s to come. As more websites better motivate engagement through game-like mechanics, Zach’s scenario is very likely to play out. However, when most websites motivate engagement this way, people, who have finite time, will evaluate which metrics they want to optimize.

The metrics that bring them the most personal value, $ in bank account, social status, physical fitness, etc, ought to rise to the top. It’s this scenario that I really look forward to.