Medium — home of the tedious self-congratulatory thinkpiece — has introduced a new reaction button that lets you ‘clap’ (or 👏) posts you enjoy.
What makes Medium’s clap feature special is that it isn’t a one-time thing. If you really like a post, you can applaud multiple times by mashing the clap button like an old person trying fruitlessly to use a touchscreen ATM.
Katie Zhu, who works for Medium in product and engineering, explained that the new feature was because recommends felt a bit too cheap. A recommend for a piss-taking, three minute post (like this one) is equally as valuable as a recommend on a more thoughtful, long-form article.
The Recommend — our version of a Like or upvote or fav — has been our explicit feedback signal since almost day one. Explicit feedback is the most valuable signal, both for authors and the Medium system. But a simple, binary vote has its limitations. It shows you how many people thought something was good, not how good was it?
In short, claps will let you give authors more accurate feedback on a post, and only the author can see how many claps you offer. Medium also plans to use claps in discovery, ensuring that the most appreciated stories rise to the stop.