This Toronto Life article about a 32-year-old who has managed to buy 10 homes in the city is very Toronto Life. At a time where many young people are struggling to afford housing, here is a millennial who has bought 10 of them (albeit with some partners). The underlying message: You’re not working hard enough.
I am fairly certain Toronto Life writes these sorts of articles because they know they’ll enrage people. As Facebook has taught us over the last few years, getting people pissed off is good for engagement. And engagement is what drives advertising-based businesses.
One of the best ways to manipulate attention is to appeal to outrage and fear, emotions that increase engagement. Facebook’s algorithms give users what they want, so each person’s News Feed becomes a unique reality, a filter bubble that creates the illusion that most people the user knows believe the same things. Showing users only posts they agree with was good for Facebook’s bottom line, but some research showed it also increased polarization and, as we learned, harmed democracy.
If you take a look at the Twitter conversations surrounding the above Toronto Life article, you’ll see the reactions you would expect: Troll article. Yeah, but how much debt has he taken on? He had help from wealthy friends. Here’s how a 32-year-old is eroding housing affordability in Toronto.
I appreciate all of this, but I will never understand the need to shit on other people because of their successes, regardless of whether they are self-made or were born with a competitive advantage. Billionaire isn’t a bad word in my books. I am a first generation real estate developer, but I wouldn’t be at all upset if my great-grandparents had decided that buying land in Toronto was a good idea.
Here is a guy that moved to Canada for University. Lived in a basement with cockroaches after leaving his first job after school. Took some risks. And saved his money instead of doing bottle service at the club on the weekends. I can respect that.
But again, these sorts of articles are bound to make a lot of people cranky. And Toronto Life knows that.