I look at it this way, Stephen Sovie. The claps I get from my regular readers don’t pay much. Because they clap all the time. Those claps are important to me, anyway, because they tell me my words mean something to people. They’re reading the stuff I put so much work into, and they’re thinking about it, and that’s the idea.
Of course there’s a social element too. I’ve slowly made friends with other writers on Medium, and that’s really important to me.
The money payment, that happens when people I DON’T know start clapping. Then I know my story is hitting corners of Medium where I rarely venture. And it’s being read by READERS (of whom Medium really does boast quite a lot) rather than by other writers.