The Power of Clapping Your Hands
In this very moment you have the capacity to change lives.
“If it’s bad, I’ll hate it because I hate bad writing. If it’s good, I’ll be envious and hate it all the more. You don’t want the opinion of another writer.”
— Midnight In Paris (Corey Stoll’s Hemingway)
When I first heard this in the feature film I laughed harder than any of those around me. As a writer the truth of the sentiment is palpable. For the age the film represents it made sense to perceive our writing competition in this way. Back then certain information was kept behind closed doors, shared only within networks you had to get an in with. This is part of the magic of the film, not just the time travel, but also the immediate and deep acceptance of the main character Gil into this elite network of creatives.
Today though this type of competition has long since fallen by the wayside. The information age of the internet saw to the destruction of many of those closed doors. Medium itself is a platform where information from the newest kid on the block can and does exist right beside some of the most seasoned veterans of the industry.
But even information is no longer the name of the game, we’ve surpassed that and gone into the Experience Age.
With Experience Comes Success
Now is a time when information has become so abundant that we no longer have to go specific places we can get it from anywhere and we generally choose to get it from those who provide the best experience.
The younger generations thrive in this age and they are a big reason for the shift. As younger generations always have their trends define the shifts in the social media landscape.
What the younger generation understands is to what capacity their attention is monetized. Because they grew up in an age that saw the rise of clickbait they’ve actually done the work to be able to recognize and discount it. More than any other group they understand the power of engagement, and wield it the same way previous generations wielded buying power.
It might sound insane but everyday there are people going from working a retail job to being a full-time TikTok creator. There are people talking full time about Marvel films on YouTube. There are record deals, and movies being made because of a viral video (Deadpool to name one). Only thing makes all this possible and that’s intentional attention.
The collective power wielded by a group of people who choose to engage and open themselves up to be engaged with. Watch this process enough and you can see when the collective decides something will take off everyone gets behind until it enters into the social consciousness. This has been happening since the internet began but now it’s not just one or two people it happens hour by hour.
What younger creators understand is that if they support each other they all win. If they all watch each others videos and comment and like and share others will do they same. It’s essentially become a code of conduct or set of manners.
Rather than some sort of scheme, it’s actually become a way of being. Competition, at least in its classical closed door form, is dead because even if there’s two creators in the space with differing opinions the path to more success often isn’t taking down the other one, but joining forces and audiences.
Now that’s not to say they go deep on everything that’s out there, or support things no matter what. Content still needs to be relevant, entertaining, and everything content has always been. But things like a Like has become more of an equivalent of tipping for service. “Hey, you made a thing. I watched that thing maybe it’s not super my thing but here’s some clout to help it move along so it can maybe find the audience that loves it.”
This goes beyond likes but we’ll talk about those in other articles.
What I hope any readers (but especially writers of the platform) here can walk away with is -- as a paying member of Medium, your attention is money, your Claps are a life changing force that we can all use to literally change each other’s lives and it starts with just a deciding Claps are worth the time.
If I were to offer an idea to simplify 50 Claps, I’d offer to think about them like stars.
🌟 = 10 Claps
🌟 🌟 =20 Claps
🌟 🌟 🌟 = 30 Claps
🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 =40 Claps
🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 =50 claps
It’s at least a way to contextualize the oddity of 50 Clap capacity in a context we all understand very well.
The Literal Power You Can Exercise Right Now
The doors are no longer closed, you don’t have to listen only to those behind the high walls, the information exists all around you and your peers. All you have to do is acknowledge it and you’ll be amazed at how quickly things shift.
Understand that a strongly worded email doesn’t get results anymore, most of those are thrown into a log or aggregated in some way and rarely looked at in full. How the majority of users navigate the platform is what developers pay attention to, and definitely what the Algorithm does.
If you like poetry go into latest tags and clap for poetry, writing tips, fantasy, fiction, whatever. What do you imagine the Algorithm will do with a poem of 10,000 claps? What happens if 1000 poems each get 10,000 claps? How does Medium shifts focus when it sees how popular poetry is based on its metrics?
Understand, claps for a poem isn’t claps for the person that wrote it (it is but) it’s really claps for the whole genre and the influence that topic or tag has on the platform at large.
Stop waiting for Medium to show you content, and get into the platform to show Medium what matters to you with your attention.
I promise, Medium will listen to traffic and their Algorithm’s deductions.