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I Finally “Got” the Clap on Medium!

Lucky for us, I haven’t run out — I can give it to you, too.

Holly Jahangiri
5 min readJun 25, 2020


If I don’t get kicked off the platform for that title, alone.

Photo by Austin Ban on Unsplash

When I was new to Medium, and knew only a very few people, Rasheed Hooda and Dr Mehmet Yildiz were very generous with the clapping. I vaguely remembered something from the old days — back when I thought of myself as “just a reader” (not realizing that every comment was a story) that we could only give out three little hearts, or hands, or whatever the currency of approval was, back then. So I was surprised to see that we could now give 50! Was this the equivalent of a standing ovation?

Money for Nothin’ and Your Claps for Free

I was a tiny bit disappointed to learn that applause was no longer tied, in any way, to compensation. But such a system would be too easy to game, and I had seen several sites similar to Medium go under, due to nefarious “writers.” These were not writers, in my opinion, at all — they were more like people at a casino who’d worked out a way to cheat the house and were riding that high like the Wolf of Wall Street. That story always ends with everything crashing down around their ears, but often takes the house and all the other players with it as collateral damage. So kudos to Medium for trying to stay ahead of the scammers.

The Magic Number

Now, though, I was left with a dilemma: If those little hands cost me nothing, and gave the writer no material compensation — just warm fuzzies and a little love — why even limit them to 50? Was 50 a magical number? What did it mean?

I thought of writing a humorous piece on what I thought it meant. Listening to other members’ thoughts, though, I became less and less certain. One said, “I give 50 claps to everyone, to raise the visibility of their Stories!” Well… yay? Now their claps no longer felt as special to me, when I received them. “I usually just give one,” said another. “One, or none.” Very old-school. Another said, “I give at least 20, but never more than 49. Nobody’s perfect.” And finally, there were a fair number of applause intuitives: “I just keep pressing the little…



Holly Jahangiri

Writer and Kid-at-Heart, often found at Subscribe to my (free!) Newsletter: