Stop Clapping. Start Responding.

Aaron Schnoor
2 min readMar 30, 2024
Photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash

Have you noticed the Quick Clappers on Medium?

I call them Quick Clappers because they jump from article to article, staying for only a few seconds, leaving a handful of claps behind like a trail of crumbs in their wake. They clap quickly. They clap quietly.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m often guilty of this. I’ll skim through an article, hopping from paragraph to paragraph, and then I’ll leave an arbitrary number of claps.

Sometimes I’ll clap 10 times, but only if I’m feeling generous.

Or sometimes, if I’ve really enjoyed the article and am feeling charitable, I’ll clap 50 times.

Other times I’ll clap once—a solitary staccato clap to express my small but meaningful enjoyment of the article.

I say this all tongue in cheek, because claps are purely subjective and don’t bear any weight or value. Do you feel like clapping once? Go for it. Want to clap a dozen times? Do it.

Claps have become irrelevant and meaningless, a way to pretend that you’re interacting with other writers without actually interacting at all.

So what should readers do instead?

We need to start responding.

Responding to articles shows engagement. It shows that you’ve read the article and have thought about the article long enough to articulate a clear thought. It shows that you care.

And, as an extra bonus, responses—and staying on an article for at least 30 seconds—are where Medium writers actually make money. A Medium article won’t make a single cent if they receive 100 claps but no 30 second reads. They won’t make a single cent if they receive 100 claps but no responses.

Your response matters. Your engagement matters.

This is a great lesson for myself, as I rarely respond to writers when I read an article. I’m usually a Quick Clapper. But I want to change.

I’m going to stop clapping, and if I like an article I’m going to respond.

That’s how writers can support other writers. That’s how we can show that we actually care about the writing on Medium.

So let’s do it. Let’s stop clapping and start responding.

Are you with me?

Aaron Schnoor