Yesterday, a Toronto-based writer named Iris Milanova became something of an internet punching bag when her article, “5 Reasons I Want to Live in New York City,” went viral on Thought Catalog. Publishing unedited drivel is part of Thought Catalog’s business model, but it was the article’s rose-tinted, Carrie Bradshaw-ed view of New York that had commenters writing things like, “Riddled with clichés. This is painful to read.” Even websites like Gawker and The Huffington Post landed some blows. But it turns out that “riddled with clichés” was exactly the point, according to Milanova herself. We reached out to her on Facebook to find out what it’s like to have bile spewed in your face when all you were trying to do was express your dreams in the hopes that one day they might come true. Well as it turns out, Milanova is a troll, just like the rest of us. She claims that her goal from the outset was to attract ridicule and scorn in hopes of getting as many pageviews as possible. In fact, Milanova claims she doesn’t even want to move to New York, and that it was all some sort of ingenious experiment in social media or advertising or whatever. Is she telling the truth? Read the interview and find out.
So tell me about the reaction to your piece. What have you noticed on your end?
How a nobody like myself managed to get their name on Gawker, for better or for worse. My initial reaction was shock followed by excitement. The negativity of people is insane. I wrote positive cliched things about NYC and it was attacked left-right-and-center, minus the few positive emails of encouragement I received from readers.
So you’re aware that what you wrote was cliche?
Absolutely. It was done on purpose.
Why would you purposely write cliches?
People are passionate about hating New York. It’s common on many popular blogs. I do it on purpose because it generates outrage. Thus, generating discussion on important subjects.
So you were hoping for a negative reaction in the first place?
Yes and I was hoping for hits on the article. It worked!
So basically you’re telling me the whole thing was an exercise in trolling, and you don’t actually believe what you wrote?
Hell no, I’m not an idiot. Plus, I love Toronto. It’s my hometown and I have everything I need here. I have work experience in media buying. I know what generates hits, I’m in my first stages of experimentation. I’m in advertising. I’m trying to understand the newest trend…mainly “pranksterism” People are attracted to outrageous things.
I’ve only been writing for less than a month. And I got my name on the Gawker. This is research. Trial and error. Have you read “Trust Me I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator”?
No I have not.
You should. It’s brilliant.
So basically, your diabolical plan worked and you don’t really want to move to New York.
In a way, yes. And no, not really. I’m not rich. I’d rather go there on a short vacation. In fact, the last time I was even in New York City was in 1998. I was 11. However, for the right job opportunity I would move to NYC in a heartbeat.
You saw this? http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/01/15/iris-milanova-moving-to-nyc-blog_n_4604738.html
You’re kidding me. This piece of shit article got attention on the Huffington Post? WOW Seriously, all one has to do is write an “article” full of cliches and grammatical errors to get attention on Huffington Post and the Gawker? Editors are insanely desperate for content. Proves my theory 110%.
If this is all farce, how do you explain your facebook cover photo of Times Square, with the lyrics to “New York, New York” posted next to it. That seems pretty in line with what you wrote.
You’re right, it doesn’t look good. Look, New York City is a great city. And I’d love to go there again. Nothing wrong with that. Plus, it’s kind of sad when people are so angry over nothing. Sure whatever I wrote is cliched and “la-dee-dah” dumb, dumb, dumb, but the media gulps it right up. It’s hilarious. Not only the media. The people ate it up like a fresh Cronut.
Is there someone at Thought Catalog you send your story to? Who publishes it or do you have access to the CMS and just publish it yourself?
I don’t know, I submit at the bottom of the page, see for yourself. They have a “Submissions” link. The only thing I really learned from this experience is that I have to be careful when relying on Microsoft Word for auto-correct. “Burroughs” was horrible!