What Would Happen If 111 People Read Your Post

But Nobody Clapped?

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Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash

Last week I did something a little different. I wrote a post that I asked readers not to clap for.

Here’s the question I wanted to answer: If 100 people read a post but nobody clapped, what, if anything, would it earn?

Many Medium writers believe that while claps are the primary metric Medium uses to measure reader engagement, highlighting and commenting and the number of people who read your work count for something too.

But do they?

I wanted to find out.

After the post was published, I kept checking and re-checking my stats. It was counter intuitive, and really kind of cool, to hope for a lack of clapping. As the number of reads piled up, I was thrilled to see that nobody had clapped!

By Sunday night 111 people had read the post — and not a single one had applauded.

The space next to the little hand was empty!

It wasn’t that readers weren’t engaged.

The post was highlighted to the max.

It inspired 27 Comments. (Many about how tough it was the resist the impulse to clap.)

And? It got it got the highest Read Ratio (89%) of anything I’d ever published on Medium.

Readers were plenty engaged. But I was happy and grateful to see that everyone had played by the rules and refrained from clapping.

I promised that when Wednesday rolled around and the weekly payment numbers were posted, I’d post an update.

Here it is.

So — what are reads and highlights and comments actually worth?

How much is a writer paid for a post with lots of reads and comments and highlights — but no claps?

The answer?

(Cue drum roll and crash of cymbals….)

Not a thing.

Not even a penny.

Zilch. Nada.

Are you surprised?

I was.

I’d assumed that all of that reader engagement would be worth something.


It’s all about the claps. And nothing but the claps.

So what’s the takeaway for you as a reader?

You can read and highlight and comment all you want.

But if you don’t clap? It ain’t worth crap.

Given that I’m being paid a big fat zero for what was arguably one of my most popular posts, do I have any regrets?


I had a great time.

It was something new and different.

I enjoyed trying to suss out the algorithm and the way readers joined in to help me.

I loved creating a Medium Bizarro World in which people expressed their support by not clapping.

Checking in every few hours to find that even though my Tribe were dying to clap — they hadn’t! And seeing what they’d chosen to highlight, plus reading all the comments they posted, which were witty and insightful and often hilarious!

In a word? It was fun.

Which is, after all, the one thing that money can’t buy.

And, yes the entire experiment becomes totally obsolete on the 28th, when the Metric Shifts from Claps to Read Time.

So it was not only definitive? But it no longer matters.

Still? It was a great game. Thanks for playing.

(If you enjoyed this post by Roz Warren? Go ahead and clap for it. This one. Not my Do Not Clap post. I’d love for that to stay clap free as long as possible, as a testament to the will power of my Medium friends.)

Written by

Writing Coach/Medium Sherpa Roz Warren(https://muckrack.com/roz-warren) (roSwarren@gmail.com) writes for everyone from the New York Times to the Funny Times.

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