The Top Ten Most Mystifying Things About Writing on Medium

Denise Shelton
5 min readApr 25, 2023

Are you as much in the dark as I am?

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

You’d think after writing for over three years on this platform, I’d have a good idea of how things work. After all, I’ve read at least a few hundred articles by “top writers” on how to do well here.

Some of their advice actually helped, for a while. But now, like many others, I find that nothing does.

Why? Maybe because what works keeps changing or because Medium’s business model isn’t designed with the writer in mind. Or, just maybe, somebody up there hates me but still wants my subscription fees.

Whatever it is, I’ve noticed a few things I find truly mystifying. Maybe you’ve noticed others. If so, share them in the comments below.

1. Why do I keep acquiring followers when nobody’s reading my stuff?

Photo by Sam McNamara on Unsplash

Lately, $10 in earnings constitutes a good month for me on this platform. My acquisition of followers is about at the same rate as it was when I was pulling in $100+.

Surely everyone who reads one of my stories doesn’t follow me. Are these real people, bots, or just Medium’s way of consoling me so I won’t cancel my subscription? Inquiring minds want to know.

2. Why does Medium still have a button for claps?

Photo by Devin Alpanian on Unsplash

It’s been years since Medium tied claps to writer earnings. Some folks clap once, some 50, others use some complicated formula known only to them. It muddies the waters.

Substack uses hearts. You like a story, you click the heart. That way, the writer knows exactly how many people read their story and liked it. But Medium prefers to kid writers into thinking more people are reading and liking than actually are. Can you say, “misdirection”?

3. Why does Medium email me about how many…