I'm a huge fan of Goodreads, a service that tracks what you've read, what you want to read, and any number of permutations to manage a virtual library.
I like it for several reasons but the following are the main ones:
- Tracks all books I want to read (now numbering in the thousands and growing exponentially);
- Provides a small endorphin boost when completing a book and adding it to my "Completed Books" list.
I'm not sure number two provides the right incentives (i.e. optimizing for quantity read). I find myself gravitating towards new books instead of re-reading old texts that, to be honest, I probably would get a lot more out of than reading ten new books.
Given this, I'm wondering if there are any services for tracking the number of articles read? I suppose something like Pocket or Instapaper make this possible, but their services do not provide this functionality yet.
I think the flip-side of the perverse incentive argument for counting books/articles/etc. is that it provides an impetus to read something, which for many people is a task unto itself. I'll post again if I find a service that provides this functionality, but I'm not sure how good it would be to "gamify" reading articles the way that Goodreads "gamifies" reading books. It seems some other people agree with me. My general productivity is low enough as it stands.