If you ever want to get little green hearts, write about medium.
I have the same experience, but even the “medium” post once I copied it as a reponse to another post it collected 50 hearts. As a standalone post barely a couple of my followers noted its existence.
The problem is this: there is an endlessly updating stream of new content that by default is listed chronologically. So a couple of hundred people you follow post content, plus the content they recommend and the content they respond to, plus the tags you follow, plus the publications, plus the top stories, there, how can you notice anything BUT clickbait out of this pile of links.
The explore section is just as bad. However I believe that this problem is really, really complicated. You either turn this into a social network thing where each “circle” reads what the others in the circle write or you come up with something amazing that knows what I want to read and shows me that. The first option will mean writers will end up paying for self promotion inside the network, the second option means the writers will have to optimize for their audience. In either case you can’t have the cake of creative, free flowing writers that write on a diverse range of themes and eat it too aka bubbleing up just because you’re great.
I root for the algorithm that knows what I want, because it will be a tremenduous advantage for publications. Publications tend to be focused not writers. Publications should have subscribers :) Anyway, let’s not fall again into the sin of overthinking!