Why I'm Unpopular On Medium.
Now you clap?
“To his dog, every man is Napoleon.” Aldous Huxley
There’s an old joke that goes like this: A hooker meets up with her pimp and hands over her night’s earnings. The total is one hundred dollars and twenty-five cents. The pimp says, “Who’s the cheap bastard who gave you twenty-five cents?” “That’s the problem,” she replies. “They all did.”
I face a similar dilemma, one I’m sure others have faced without being hookers. I’ve always earned a living as a writer. That said, you’d think I’d know how to be popular by now. For a time, I thought I was. Then I came here (meaning Medium) and discovered I’m unpopular. It’s not that my numbers are bad. I have over 6.7k followers. What I don’t have are good clappers.
It’s The One Time You Wanna Say, ‘I Got The Clap’
I guess I should explain myself. Like the hooker getting twenty-five cents, I’m constantly getting readers giving me one clap. Not everyone, obviously, but I seem to attract one-clappers the way mimes attract people asking, “So what’s it like being a mime?” Mimes can be rude, I’ve seen it.
And because I get so few claps, Medium rewards me in kind. Last month, with a total of nine articles, I earned $28.16 (who’s the cheap bastard who gave me sixteen cents? They all did). That joke never gets old, unless you’re the joke, which I guess I am, and it gets depressing.
One-Handed Jokes Aren’t That Funny
One guy wrote to me saying, “Brilliant article, Robert. I really enjoyed it.” He gave me one clap. So did sixteen other people. Either I’m dealing with a lot of one-handed readers or something’s gone terribly awry.
Maybe some people don’t understand the concept of clapping. Imagine you’re a musician, and you do a show, and everyone gives you one clap. Crushing, right? Well, that one show, at best, is going to run around three hours. I spend that amount of time on research alone. So getting one clap to me — or any writer here on Medium — is like saying, “I’d clap more, but I want to get out of the parking lot before the concert ends and I’m stuck here all night.”
The Chimpanzees Are Nervous Tonight
What I don’t understand is what’s the rush here on Medium? It’s not like there’s only one exit to the next article. Or are you worried I’ll get big-headed if I get, say, ten claps, in which case I’ll provide disclaimers telling all the one- clappers they’ll be banned if they can’t clap like mechanical chimpanzees?
Now, imagine if all those one-clappers (feeling terribly embarrassed at this point), were to start clapping like crazy. Medium would have lights blinking all over the place. Editors, fearing we’d reached a state of fanatical, would jump to attention, figuring this writer (meaning me) must be the greatest thing since sliced bologna. “We need to curate this guy,” they’ll say, like nobody’s ever never heard of me before(which they probably haven’t).
Next thing you know, I’m writing articles about how I earned thousands writing about the craziest thing I’ve done with someone’s tongue down my throat, leading to equally fascinating articles about dental care, sex during dental care, and dentists who offer sex during dental care.
People You Shouldn’t Eat (Or Clap For)
This hasn’t happened, obviously. With my limited number of claps, I haven’t been curated in two years. My last curated article was “People You Shouldn’t Eat,” which was deemed a corker because the editor was a foodie and didn’t understand hyperbole, because it isn’t about, well, food.
While I continued to write what I thought were “corkers,” Medium didn’t agree, or maybe they thought I was a hooker. Either way, I was sidelined, much like a hooker who’s forced to work the turnoff to the Lincoln Tunnel near Hoboken.
How To Avoid Being A Hooker
As we all know, writing — like hooking — requires looking for new fertile ground (which isn’t the turnoff to the Lincoln Tunnel). And while I haven’t solved this “good clappers” thing, I’m pretty sure I have solved what is fertile ground. Please follow closely because this isn’t going to get curated, and I’m not about to schlep it around like people hocking their lousy books.
- How I Earned Gobs of Cash Writing About Being a Hooker. Even if you’ve never been one, just act like you have. Nobody’s going to be the wiser because hookers don’t fink on each other. They’ll even clap for you if you pay their membership and give them twenty-five cents.
- My Boyfriend Masturbates To Siesta Key. Well, I mean, put six obnoxious individuals in a hot tub, and who doesn’t get turned on by subhuman IQs and daddy issues?
- My Aunt Was A Sunday School Axe Murderer. That’s what happens, my little lovelies, when you pick your nose while I’m trying to make Mathew sound like the best goddamn read since Return of the Jedi.
- My Dog Just Made a Play For Me While I Was Shaving My Legs. Don’t knock beastiality until you’ve watched Siesta Key. If the director yelled “Unleash the hounds,” you can bet at least two contestants would have Kibble in their bikini bottoms. Fifteen minutes of fame is fifteen minutes of fame.
- What I Have To Say To MILF Hunters. Nothing gets you curated like wondering why? why? why? do these young dudes want me so badly? Especially when you say, “My knees don’t bend like that anymore.”
I can’t guarantee this will get you claps, but, believe me, you stand a much better chance than writing about Karl Marx — or his funny brother, Groucho. As someone who’s done both, I can safely say the claps won’t be forthcoming.
What readers here want is anything — and I mean anything — that puts Cosmopolitan to shame, or makes The Economist sound like Mein Kampfwith graphs. Do that, and you’ll be clapped more than The Beatles, or what’s left of The Beatles (Ringo and Paul are still alive, right?)
You get the idea, anyway.
Robert Cormack is a satirist, novelist, and former advertising copywriter. His first novel “You Can Lead a Horse to Water (But You Can’t Make It Scuba Dive)” is available online and at most major bookstores. Check out Skyhorse Press or Simon and Schuster for more details.
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