Claps vs. Read Time, a Newbe Weighs in

2 min readFeb 14, 2021

It seems like a good idea to me.

I have to admit, I’m not as altruistic as some writers on Medium. I want to help other writers, but honestly, I want to make money for my work. I admit when I was first writing it was a shot in the arm to see my gags used in cartoons, radio stations use my material, see TV standups use my jokes or see my stuff in print. But it got to the point where I wanted decent compensation for my work. With that in mind, here are my thoughts about Medium’s adjustment from pay per clap (not sure that sounds good) to pay per read time.

In a nutshell, I like it. As a newbie, I’m working to gain followers and claps. I’m fairly happy with my progress in those areas, but I feel ultimately, time spent reading an article is a truer indicator of the interest a piece has generated. I take it as more of a compliment if a reader takes the time to actually read a piece I’ve written as opposed to just blindly clapping for an article. Of course, ideally a reader will read my work, enjoy it, and give it about 50 claps.

Human Nature comes into Play

It would seem to me that a new writer with 5–10 followers would be at a distinct disadvantage in getting claps as opposed to a writer who has 3K followers. I believe we all tend to clap more for someone who followers us. While I’m more likely to look at a story from someone I follow, I won’t necessarily read through a story based solely on who wrote it.

My experience indicates to me that interaction within a given community, be a community of writers, comedians, or whatever, is as important to sales as the quality a work itself. I’ll submit a case in point.

The Comedywire Experience

Comedwire is a social media platform for comedy writers and comedians. Topics are presented and then participants submit funny lines based on the premise given. There is a daily leader board and participants up-vote different submissions to determine position on the leader board. I noticed there was a direct correlation between how much I interacted with other writers and how well my work performed. There seemed to be a definite writers quid pro quo. Is that wrong? Not necessarily. Is that how I want my worked appraised? Probably not. (Scratch that if I get a lot of followers and claps.)

Final Thought

As for now, I’ll continue posting on Medium and interacting with other writers. I will truthfully say there is a mountain of information available from other writers on this platform.




You probably don't know my name, but have likely seen my work. I'va written for numerous syndicated cartoon strips and my gags have appeared in national pubs.