5 things about the new Claps feature on Medium

Medium replaces Recommends with Claps. Here is all you need to know.

Note: There were initially 6 things, and the title read so. I have since discovered that #5 was inaccurate, so have added a correction there and modified the title of the story accordingly. Did not delete my initial point however. That would have been cheating.

I haven’t been active on Medium for almost 2 weeks now. But I received a notification today that made me come check it out.

Clapped?? Huh?


Here are few things that you need to know about the new feature:

#1. THIS. THIS AIN’T NEW

The stories in Series always had the clapping option

For those of you who may not have been aware of it, the ‘clapping’ isn’t new on Medium. It’s just that it was present exclusively for Medium Series so far. Now, they have gone ahead and replaced the all too familiar recommend heart with the clap icon.


#2. SHOW YOUR LOVE FOR THE STORY

Ever come across a story that simply made you go “Wow”? You have, haven’t you? We all have. And that other story that was good, but not that great also. Unfortunately with features like Recommend, Heart, Upvote, Like, you are restricted in how you can express your love for the story.

Claps removes that restriction. You can clap on a story you love countless times. (Yes, countless. Believe me, I know. I tried this on a Series before I got tired and gave up.) So go ahead, and show that story some more love.

Whether or not this is something that readers would end up using is what I am skeptical about. But I’m sure Medium team has some data from their Series experiments.
Update: The claps aren’t countless. I checked. Each person can clap a maximum of 50 times. Sounds fair. One probably wouldn't clap more than 50 times even for a performance by Steven Tyler himself.

#3. WRITERS WILL STILL KNOW HOW MANY UNIQUE PEOPLE LOVED THEIR STORIES

One possible downside of clapping a lot could have been the loss of visibility on how many people have actually liked any particular story. Luckily, that info is still there.

On a side note, I do think Medium needs to be more careful in restructuring its terminologies. “191 claps from 188 people” was fine, but when I head over to the stats page, I see something new altogether — Fans. Fans? Where did that come from?

#4. FANS IS THE NEW “RECOMMENDS”. CLAPS IS SOMETHING COMPLETELY NEW

If we were to do a pixel-by-pixel mapping of the previous recommends function to this new world, it would be Fans and not Claps.

Why?

  1. Fans is unique, just like recommends
  2. You were used to seeing recommends on your stats page. You see fans now in its place.

#5. ONCE YOU CLAP, YOU CANNOT UNCLAP

Claps are permanent, and they move in one and one direction only — Up. You can keep on clapping on a story, but you can’t unclap on a story.

This. This may be a problem.

The reason is simple. Accidental claps. While you are browsing on your phone, accidental clicks is a very real and very frequent occurrence. It happens on all the apps that you use, and there isn’t any way around it. While on facebook or any other system, you have the ability to undo the action you accidentally took, Medium has — so far — not given the option of undoing any accidental clap. They may, or at least should, fix that in coming weeks.

Update/Correction: You can unclap. I stand corrected. The small three button options link at the end of each story? You click on that and you get the option of "Undoing the applause" for the story. Seems kinda harsh, doesn't it? "Undo applause for this post". Makes me think - even if I have accidentally clicked applauding a post, reading those words will make me feel like a heartless ass and I would leave it be.
Btw, the undoing applause thing? It's binary. So you can keep on applauding for a post (to the limit of 50, as I discovered), but once you click unapplaud, they are all gone. No way to reduce the number of applauses/claps you want to give to the story. But I don't think that's much of a usecase. The unapplaud link is slightly difficult to find though. But it's there, so yeah - this point of mine is no longer valid.

#6. GOOD LUCK LOVING YOUR OWN STORY. :-)

You could have recommended your own stories. With claps, you would not be able to. You aren’t supposed to give yourself a standing ovation. With this new release, Medium has fixed that.


It would be interesting to see how people react to this, and whether or not this is able to bring in more love to the stories that deserve them. What about you? Do you think this will change the way you show your appreciation to the story and/or the writer?? Do let me know.


That’s it for today; see you tomorrow.

I am Abhishek. I am here... there.... Everywhere...
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