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What Are Fans On Medium And Why Are They So Powerful?

  • 7 min read

This overlooked social media metric is a sign of success and it boosts your views and earnings.

I got asked:

What is a “FAN”?

A question from “Medium dummies” like me.

The dummy is Teresa Morillas.

She‘s an incredible woman, a new writer, and received an email notification telling her one of her posts has 10 fans.

Since more experienced writer Amy Von Blickhahn emphasized:

I’ve always wondered exactly what (fans are) too.

I want to take a closer look at the social media metric “FAN” on Medium today.

Ever seen a post about fans?

Often writers share success stories like:

  • How Much Medium Paid Me for 100,000 Views.
  • I Gained 100 Comments On My Story.

I rarely see articles about fans.

Fans are also a very crucial metric (=data).

The only article I can remember is one from Yousuf Rafi. He once received a notification that 1,000 of his fans read his crazy viral post

10 Micro-Habits to Improve Your Life in the Next 10 Days

Do you feel lost?

It’s pretty sad that there aren’t more articles about what fans are and why they are so important on Medium.

Especially as a new writer you feel lost, paralyzed, and overwhelmed.

I can relate! There are so many meta articles (=articles about Medium) with tons of advice.

But hey, I’m here to help.

I’m here to help you.

I’m Kristina God.

I’ve been writing on Medium for 14 months now and pumped out 570+ articles to date. Trial and error is my best friend. Not my enemy.

By experimenting a lot, I became a Top Writer in multiple categories and a host of a Medium Boot Camp, and owner of the Medium publication Online Writing 101 dedicated to helping new writers.

And today I’ve received this nice notification email (side note: It also shows up in the notifications drop-down menu on your Medium page.):

My story How To Turn Your Mess Into Your Message in ILLUMINATION has 50 fans.

A great kick.

This notification email was an immediate dopamine and motivation kick I really needed today.

I couldn't find a definition for ‘Fans’ in Medium’s Help Center, so…

here’s my definition of fans:

Fans = the number of unique readers who clapped for a post.

Why is it such a big deal when I get a notification telling me my post has 10 or 50 fans?

  • Because it means 50 readers actually liked my story.
  • It shows me that my article is interesting for my audience and the community.

Medium’s business model is all about connections.

What do you think happens the moment you hit publish or when a publication publishes your story?

Do you really think your story goes out to ALL of your followers (=people who clicked the follow button)?

Medium’s business model is the relational model. Meaning it’s all about connections and relationships.

So early on in my writing journey, I found out about the Let’s Get Relational Idea.

Success on Medium depends on how we interact with one another.

Our underrated superpower is collaborating with others and ‘getting relational’ instead of putting ourselves in the center of everything.

As a team, we can do so much more and help each other. Kristina God

The moment we engage (=comment, clap, highlight) with a piece of another writer on Medium, the moment it’s more likely that this person will see your stories in their feed AND also his/her followers.

I call it Writing Karma.

Your content isn't automatically sent to all of your followers.

Only the ones you interacted with lately (and their followers) will see your articles.

Here’s an example:

Charisse Tyson is part of my February Boot Camp.

I interact with her a lot and give her feedback on her posts.

And here she is.

In my feed:

Claps matter

So when new writer Teresa Morillas gets a notification telling her

10 fans liked your story

like this one

It is a big deal!

It helps you to get seen by a lot of readers.

3 Reasons Why It’s a Big Deal To Receive 10 Fans

  1. 10 fans is a metric that triggers Medium’s algorithm.
  2. This way Medium’s algorithm knows your article is relevant.
  3. The more fans clap the more feeds Medium will send your story to and show your post.

50, 100, and 1,000 Fans

As shown you’ll get a notification when your story has

  • 10 Fans
  • 50 Fans

and also when you get

  • 100 Fans

The algorithm loves engagement.

Most new writers don’t know how Medium calculates their earnings.

In a nutshell:

You get paid for the average reading time (=the time people actually spent reading your post.)

Moreover, every algorithm (on YouTube, Instagram, Tik Tok…) loves engagement.

So there’s another factor that’s crucial for your earnings — engagement.

I reached out to Medium Support and got this answer:

Stories that have high-level engagement do have a greater change of increased distribution to readers who have shown interest in similar stories and topics.

What does this mean?

The more claps & fans, the more earnings

Some fun facts I learned from the Medium Writers Challenge this summer:

  • When you get 10 fans within 24 hours after you’ve published you get in the popular on Medium feed.
  • When you get 10+ fans within 24 hours you’ll get into the trend list for the primary tag (=label).
  • When your story reaches the threshold of 50 Medium will promote your story further.
  • When you reach the threshold of 100 you ‘have a greater chance of increased distribution to readers who have shown interest in similar stories and topics’ in the past (based on their reading history). Meaning Medium will promote your story further.

Wrapping it up

  • Claps matter. So clap 50x when you like this post or any other story on Medium and think more people should read it.
  • Your followers matter. You want them to read your articles and clap for them. The moment they do this they are your fans.

So put your audience first.

Ask yourself:

What is my audience interested in?

As far as I’m concerned, Teresa is part of my audience.

She received this notification by Medium and asked me what fans mean.

The moment I help this ONE person, I help thousands of other new writers with the same question. I call it the HOPE principle.

The moment I create value, the moment people clap for my posts and Medium sends my article to more feeds (in my follower base plus beyond my follower base).

This means more views, claps, and more earnings.

Final Takeaways

So, new writers, celebrate when you receive this notification.

Do your happy dance and cross your fingers your post will reach the next threshold of 50 and then 100 too (some day).

If not, start writing reader-centric = write for your audience.

The moment you help others you create value.

© Kristina God


I’m so grateful for you and really appreciate your support.

Why not join Medium? You’ll get unlimited access to all my articles and thousands of other writers. If you sign up using my link, I’ll earn a tiny commission.

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