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katie zhu

Claps are more in the context of applause and it is understandable but applause makes the platform impersonal. With a heart it was more about liking what the person wrote, loving it and relating to them. But with applause, it feels I’m standing in the audience and clapping for them and that the fact that I relate to the article as a person has very little to do with anything at all. Like one has been removed from the personal sphere of the writer and put on the other side of a glass wall where everyone stands and claps. Like the showbiz industry, writers now seem like performers who are here merely to put on a good show. Medium is not about shows, it is about stories told in the living room with everyone huddled around a warm fire place.

Measuring and showing love by allowing multiple clicks is great but it could’ve been kept with the heart too? Personally, medium for me is a platform where I read people’s opinions, insights and see their personality. I don’t want to read about how someone is struggling and clap. I want to tell them I understand and that I send them love. When someone finishes a project for the first time, I want to read about it and say I loved it and that it was helpful to me. That way they know their work had meaning for someone. Claps don’t do the same. Medium was different because of it’s community and because of it’s format. It steered away from the whole ‘like’ culture because recommendation felt like recommending an article. With applause, when I recommend, psychologically, I feel I add no value to the community and to the people that follow me. I merely stand and clap.

Also, it would be interesting to see how a change in the method of feedback being given to the author changes the author’s attitude of writing their content. Authors often conclude articles with “share this post. share what you love” kind of lines. Lines that often make one feel as if they belong in this community and encourage collaboration. Would claps do the same? Claps to me seem as if everyone is going to be competing for a pat on the back. Which is great if you are a professional media house, you want people to applaud your content. And maybe this change has something to do with the rise of successful publications on medium and perhaps medium has a strategy to slowly edge towards being a mass-media platform for news/magazines and not have anything to do with individual writers and majorly gather a user-base of readers. Then, the claps would be a great idea.

We will see where this goes. But for now, things just got a whole lot impersonal and a lot more professional.

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