Am I Missing Something?

Does it hurt one’s stats to clap for others?

Carol Burt
Oct 19 · 2 min read

I’ve been on Medium for a little more than two months. In that time I’ve been writing a lot and reading stories that interest me and “clapping” when I find good stories..

On this platform I thought we write our best pieces and hope they’re well-received. But I also thought writers here read and promote others’ work.

Most of the time when I follow someone they return the favor and follow me, too. I’ve been thankful when someone follows me, so I follow them, too.

I can always unfollow anyone who turns out to be obnoxious; so as far as I know I’m not taking a big risk.

And when people clap for my pieces, I roll over to their profiles and see what they have written. I usually find I something I like. If I do, I clap for them.

But what about the people here who have one or two thousand followers — but only follow a few — and never seem to clap for anyone else’s work? What’s up with that? I’m wondering if there’s a disadvantage to following a lot of people and clapping for all the good writing I read?

Seriously, I’m not complaining or trying to be obnoxious. I just genuinely wonder why that is?

Did they once follow many people and then unfollow them as they gained followers? Maybe they clapped more for others before they became Medium-famous because I can’t see a way one could be successful on Medium without the support of others.

Maybe they clap for good stories, and I’ve just missed it. But I’ve noticed some of the most successful writers seem to be absent even as fans of pieces curated in their niches.

Is the quality of the writing what succeeds here, or is it something else? I’ve seen some say it’s a numbers game. I hope not. And if that’s the case, maybe I’m doing it wrong by clapping for and following so many others.

Does it somehow detract from my success if I clap for a lot of stories? I don’t think it does, so why are people stingy with their claps?

I know there’s heavy competition; I’ve read some scary talented Medium writers. And I’m not criticizing; I’m sincerely trying to understand.

As far as I know, it doesn’t cost me anything to encourage other writers by following them and showing them I appreciate their work by clapping. Maybe it does and I don’t fully understand the program?

It does seem sort of selfish to use the support of other writers to become successful and not be supportive in return. But again, maybe I’m ignorant of good reasons not to.

I’m just a newbie still trying to learn, so what do I know?

Carol Burt

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Former inky newswoman, retired cop, former elected official, now full-time writer. Writing mostly about life, love and politics.