“Longtime lurker, first time clapper.”
That’s what I should write in my Medium bio — I’ve been reading on Medium for quite a while now, writing for a lot less. And to be honest, in the beginning I had no idea writers could get paid for what they publish on the platform.
After I learned that, I still didn’t understand how the process worked. Finally, after reading about reading (very meta, I know) I figured out engagement in the form of claps and responses is the social currency of Medium. That is, until they overhauled the earnings system at the end of October 2019.
All of a sudden, that seemed to be the only thing people wanted to talk about it. It was coming up in the Facebook groups, in Medium stories, on social media. Throw in the challenges of curation and getting your work out there in publications, and it’s enough to make a writer want to toss their computer out the window.
Love it or hate it, it’s still a guessing game if you want to know how much a story will earn. No matter how good the quality is, we’re at the mercy of the algorithm and it can be a serious downer to see a story flop even if you’re not writing for the money.
I’m a small business owner. Solopreneur. #BossBabe or whatever other moniker you want to put on it. And I know how hard it is to gain traction for your work. Marketing yourself can feel incredibly narcissistic and slimy; shameless self-promotion has never been a strength of mine.
I imagine I’m not alone.
That’s why I dish out claps left and right these days. Especially in increments of five, ten, or an even number. I like seeing that little button change color with the number count bubbling up above it. And to get a story over the 1,000 clap mark? #GOALS
I don’t know why this gives me such satisfaction but it feels good to be a cheerleader for other people’s work. I like seeing people thrive doing what they’re good at, but you don’t even have to be good at something to enjoy it.
That is one of the biggest benefits as I start to publish my own work on Medium — I’m starting to care less and less about approval from others, and just committing to trying something new because it’s fun and interesting and brings me a little joy on the days I do it.
It takes a lot of courage to put written words out on the Internet in any form. And I see writers on Medium tackling topics that are deep, dark, intimate, controversial, unpopular, and incredibly personal. I’m so here for it.
So yeah. I’ll dish out the claps left and right, and it will never be just one.