Saying Farewell to the “Polite Clap”
For the last month I’ve been away from Medium on self appointed “mental health” leave.
This leave wasn’t made necessary because of Medium, but it had to fall into the recycling basket regardless. Anyway, I’m back now bitches aaaaaaand…
I’m away for 5 minutes and everything turns on it’s head?? What’s going on?
I’ve arrived back just in time for the brand new payment system.. and oh my freaking goodness..
Once we were clap-scavengers, searching the wilderness for any claps we could find. Articles would tout wisdom on digging for the elusive claps, others would chastise those that didn’t clap enough.
Suddenly that’s out the window.
The new system measures time actually spent reading the articles, a system that I think actually makes a lot more sense..
Suddenly out of nowhere, stones appeared out of nowhere and began hurtling towards the author of this story..
I’ve always believed that actual fans are really rare.
As anyone who’s ever self published an Amazon book can tell you (and by god there are a lot of us), it’s no easy feat convincing a reader to part with even a small amount of their cash.
A certain level of trust is needed to push a reader into becoming a paying customer, and much more trust is needed to push someone into becoming a loyal customer.
Bringing the reader back time and time again takes the perfect balance of skill, work, talent, consistency and luck. Achieving it with with even one reader is a monumental achievement, so I’ve always believed in its scarcity, and also believe that some people can take having a readership for granted.
The old way
In my opinion, the old way didn’t require us to generate real loyal readers.
I, myself, am guilty of clapping for people because I liked the person.
…I’m actually very guilty of that.
I love certain people, and was so happy to pour my membership dollars into their accounts.
But loving them and being a genuine reader of theirs are two different things.
I use to love flicking down their article (to give them a read) then clapping like crazy (to give them some cash) then clicking straight out. It worked for me, but I can see how it didn’t work for Medium.
Stats are down
It makes sense that we’re all bleeding after this change. Genuine readership is always far more scarce than genuine friendship.
Friends will be your friends for free. Readers give up their valuable time, and they want a lot in return.
What you give a loyal reader is worth more to them than their time. Your writing connects with them, changes something inside them. That’s a rare and precious thing, and I’m glad that it’s now the metric for payouts, even though I’m going to suffer.
I don’t believe there’s anything I write that others can’t write better, so this is going to impact me a lot. I absolutely leaned on the claps of well-meaning and kind hearted people.
These are going to be hungry days.
But best of all, these are going to be desperate days. I can’t wait to see how this change forces some writers to lift their game.
Some will put more time into editing, some will do drafts, others will have friends check stories over before publication.
I’m confident there will be writers I like now who I will LOVE later. So I can’t wait for the changes that are coming, especially since Christmas is around the corner and I read like crazy over the holidays.
The hungry days
So let this change impact you for the better, try to see the positive side if you can.
For those who can’t, I’m sorry, and I sympathise. This change is rough, and we’ll lose a lot of good people because of it. But that’s such a shame because I truly believe that there are fans out there for everyone.
Everyone is someone’s wet dream, and you’re the perfect writer for someone. Someone out there lives for your exact style. This is why I believe so so much in marketing.
Keep telling people about your writing.
There’s really no other way.