Petty clapping on Medium

How to be stingy and neurotic with your worthless claps

I could’ve written this.

Sometimes when a smile won’t do, and words just aren’t enough,we slap the skin of our palms together repeatedly and rapidly to show our approval. Thank heavens Medium has created a digital replicate of this enthusiastic act. But like all social mechanisms, clapping on Medium is complex. Sociologists have confirmed that clicking the clap button is a nuanced behavioral act, shrouded in subtle shades of varying meanings, and influenced by emotions—primarily pettiness.

Here, we will explore the social phenomenon

Rounding out the claps

I have an unpublished draft of this exact topic sitting in my Medium stories.

I loved your story about the one trait ALL successful people have without exception! It’s impressive that you wrote a buildup to one trait in 5,000 words. It was definitely worth an outpouring of applause and 50 claps from me! But you already had 91 claps. The best I could do was round you out to an even 100. To stop anywhere else would’ve felt just wrong. From both a numerical and moral standpoint.

My claps matter

Why bother?

That article about how to really be yourself around others. So much yourself that you barely recognize this freed, super saiyan self, with perfectly towering, glistening hair. I wanted to clap for you. But your claps had already reached 1.2k. Pressing that little hand-button emoji seemed like I was golf clapping in an arena of OLAY OLAY OLAY-ing soccer fans. I felt irrelevant.

Clap backs

Thems is fighting claps

Guy I only clapped 5 times to, I thought your piece was hilarious! The technicality and the humor, it was brilliantly balanced! But I only found your piece because you clapped for mine. Here’s the thing. You only clapped once. What kind of shit is that? Have you ever clapped one time at someone? People only do that when they’re about to fight. It’s like throwing down a single penny at your waitress as a tip. It’s a clear message of sarcasm meant to elicit shame from the waitress who spent 20 minutes flirting with the swooped-hair teenage-boy-host who keeps her buzzing about with his unmoving nonchalance. I get it, we all have Daddy issues, now take this one penny because you did a SHIT job and it’s more than you deserve.

Clap calling

I can barely contain my claps

I just clicked my laptop’s touchpad 50 times like a frantic maniac in public because your story made me giggle at the president’s expense. Now I’m reading through your past stories and laughing at Gwyneth Paltrow’s expense. My finger has cramped from click clapping. Is it too forward to keep clapping at you? I mean, I’m not trying to come off too strong, but are you married? Am I Medium stalking? Let me dial it back so my Medium crush doesn’t become too apparent. Three claps for you. Because I’m petty.