Why I Often Give 50 Claps

And I don’t panic when others don’t do the same for me.

By Shannon Ashley

There are countless philosophies about how to clap on Medium. Some folks swear up and down about supposedly right or wrong ways to do it, but I have always held the belief that people are arguing over pennies and it doesn’t make much sense to keep fighting about it.

It’s a little too nitpicky for me to worry about how to distribute my claps. Instead, I look at clapping for my fellow writers as more than putting a few cents into their pockets.

Every time I read a story from a fellow writer on Medium, I don’t just clap for the single story. I clap for the writer and their journey. And I clap because I know how damn time consuming and vulnerable writing can be.

Most stories I read on Medium are very good. Exceptional, even.

I can’t help thinking of the claps system as a grading system. One or two claps out of 50 isn’t even a passing grade. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around giving writers whom I respect and admire a failing grade, so I don’t.

I often give out the full 50 claps because it feels good. It costs me nothing. I like knowing that I can help somebody reach 1K or 2K claps that much more quickly.

I don’t give out reciprocal claps.

What I mean is that I don’t have a policy that says if you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours. I give out 50 claps whether or not a person gives them to me.

There are some folks whom I read and clap for who may never clap for me. The truth is that I don’t track these things. I just do my best to read and clap to show other writers my support.

Another way I like to show support is to mention other writers and their stories. If I can help get them a few more followers I see that as a good thing.

I don’t mind getting single claps.

Sure, I like getting 50 claps from each fan just as much as anyone. But I know there are plenty of reasons why some folks give out just one.

And that’s perfectly alright.

Maybe one reason I don’t mind so much about the claps is because I don’t monitor my stories and obsess over their reception. Personally, I don’t think it’s a healthy habit to obsess over your stories.

It’s better to just move on and keep writing.

The most successful earners on Medium don’t obsess over their claps.

In fact, most of them don’t obsess over any of their stats. I have a theory about that.

I think that obsessively checking one’s stats isn’t conducive to good writing.It’s not helpful to panic or fret over claps when all you really need to do is keep writing and moving forward.

Sure, we write for our readers. But we also write for ourselves. If we aren’t careful, we’ll get stuck in the weeds and only write the words we think other people want to hear.

Which is, of course, makes for writing that is hardly a revelation.

You have to decide why you’re here.

For most of us, our presence on Medium is about more than clicks and claps. Even though I write here to make a living, I also write to express myself and to help bring light to challenging issues like mental health and unhealthy family dynamics.

If your writing is only published in an effort to be liked? It’s going to be very hard to love what you do or maintain a readership because authenticity matters.

Perhaps more than you think.

The only numbers I really look at are my daily fans.

I hope to hit at least 400 to 500 fans every day on Medium. That’s the goal I’m usually working for when I check my stats.

After doing this for nearly 18 months, it’s still the only statistic I care much about. Reaching my daily goals tells me I can pay my bills and that I’m reaching folks with my stories.

Claps can’t tell me what I want to know. Clapping is erratic and highly personal. There’s a whole psychology behind clapping that I’m not going to worry about every day when I write.

And I don’t suggest that you worry much about it either.

Try not to focus on the things you can’t control on Medium. Instead, focus on creating good work. And do what you can to help support your fellow writers here.

If that means giving out 50 claps a little more often, what have you got to lose?

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