I’ve been trying to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight (responsibly and gradually) with the help of an app that helps me to log the calories that I consume. The app has one feature that annoys me: It awards me badges for any little milestone that I achieve.
Congratulations Tracy! You successfully lost 10 Pounds! (I didn’t. My finger slipped when I logged my initial weight. When I corrected it, it seemed like I lost 10 pounds) You successfully maintained your diet for 2 weeks!
I understand that dieting is difficult and that people need motivators, but really? A badge for logging in 14 days in a row?
The badge phenomena isn’t limited to weight loss apps either. My Kobo reader app started giving me badges as well. Suddenly, I can receive an award for finishing a book. I also can get awards for the number of words that I write, both in NaNoWrimo and on several websites where I place articles. Even my X-Box gives me merit badges for doing certain things in game.
Part of me wonders where all these badges come from. Is this an extension of the mentality bred by the soccer trophy phenomena in which everyone gets an award just for playing? Or is it all in fun? Like a Pokemon/ “gotta catch em all” situation? Did it come from the Girl and Boy scouts? Is getting the Inverted Comma award a substitute for earning your merit badge for knot tying? Or are we just catering to the special, unique snowflakes of the world?
Maybe I’m being a virtual old codger, but I find these badges (that I didn’t ask for) annoying. Do I really need a gold star just for showing up? All these badges make even getting awards of any kind seem humdrum and routine. Whenever everything is special, nothing is.