This is spot on, anna. Medium is a great place to practice your craft, try out new things, meet other writers, make friends, get encouragement, and so much more. Plus a great place to read all kinds of writing.
Just don’t pin your writing dreams on it. Unless you write the types of essays Medium prefers, it is not a place to earn a living writing. Yes, a select few have, but a select few have also become professional athletes, superstar singers, movie stars, won the lottery, etc. Most of us won’t.
And you will have to wade through a lot of things that you have no interest in to find the things you do. It’s like a library. You have to find the sections and writers you like.
And there is also that social media aspect to it. Popularity doesn’t necessarily translate to quality, just popularity. So take claps and stats for what they are. Popularity.