Uproxx: White Boy Privilege Gone Wrong

Recently someone pointed me to an article on a site I’d never seen before. It’s called Uproxx. The tag line is The Culture of What’s Buzzing.

After looking at the staff page I’m guessing that the “culture” they’re referring to is the culture of 20 something caucasian men. Which is fine, but it’s a narrow field of vision and there’s so much privilege in there that it might be difficult for these young men to actually understand consequences.

So I thought I’d address them here. Similarly to how they addressed my friend Calvin Lee (but I’ll leave out the threats of violence).

A recent post by the editor in chief begins by stating as fact:

By now everyone knows that Klout is terrible.

Well, that’s not entirely true. In fact Klout has some really great points to it. All measurement will have a downfall here or there but adults know these things. A discerning reader would know that this post is now a straight opinion piece. Right? Because a reputable site would mark it as such or they’d be worried about things like integrity and lawsuits.

Not those kids at Uproxx, they’re too indy for that.

In paragraph two the writer (actually the editor in chief) makes some assertions about the Klout algorithm. It’s adorable and I want to pinch his chubby little cheeks. Especially when he uses an asterisk instead of spelling out motherfucker… because that is hardcore. If he was right about the algorithm it might have been cuter.

By way of disclosure I know this to be true because I have a loose affiliation with Klout that makes me part of the Klout Squad. They’ve given me a tee shirt and a water bottle. Look at me, I’m rich.

Paragraph three starts with this:

Take, for instance, this guy — Calvin Lee — mentioned in the journalistic blowjob Wired recently gave Klout. He exemplifies everything that is wrong with Klout and the people who care about it.

Yes, Brett Michael Dykes is criticizing Wired Magazine’s journalistic integrity. I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in. Brett Michael Dykes asserts that Wired Magazine needs help with their journalism.

Stop laughing so loud. It’s hard for me to concentrate when you do that.

So far this is all very ranty and does nothing but make the writer look like a petulant child. The site clearly has a large (the media kit says 3 million a month) but very narrow readership and one can only suppose that their readers will grow out it very soon.

Here’s where I have huge problems with Brett Michael Dykes. Read this:

I hope Calvin Lee — who follows 80,000 people on Twitter (following an impossible number of people for a human to actually follow is another way to raise your Klout score, naturally) — gets eaten by a grizzly bear. No, seriously, I really do.

Brett. I know you’ll see this because the internet is actually quite small. You’ve called Calvin names and I’ll go to my grave defending your right to do that. What you should not do, and what no one should ever do is use their bully pulpit as a place to call for the physical harm of another human being.

I understand that you were trying to be funny by saying a grizzly bear should eat Calvin. Unfortunately it’s just plain threatening.

I don’t want to make too much of this by saying that Uproxx threatened Calvin Lee’s life or livelihood. I do know that posts like this make it dangerous to be Calvin and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some level of legal remedy he could seek.

It’s also probably worth noting that Calvin is a beloved figure in the Silicon Beach tech scene and is known for helping people launch their businesses.

We know that Uproxx is basically a blog with a bunch of contributors. Journalists, investors and lawyers, I’m asking you the tough question. What should Uproxx do?

18 thoughts on “Uproxx: White Boy Privilege Gone Wrong”

  1. Everyone is allowed their voice on the web, right? It simply astonishes me the kind of douchebaggery that some people might lower themselves to. 

    Did this Brett actually do any research on Klout or how their algorithms measure analytics/metrics? Did he even reach out to interview or get to know Calvin Lee? 

    Seems to me as if someone wanted some buzz and thought he’d pick a few key players, throw in some jargon for SEO and wait for the dust to settle. Something along the lines of any press must be good press, right? Not sure it works that way.. unless you like being known as a douchebag without any credibility. 

  2. Jessica – I agree people can have an opinion but threatening or bullying others really ends the conversation – social media is about the exchange of ideas, opinions and yes even influencing others which Klout strives to measure – having intelligent conversations benefits us all – throwing dispersions makes the writer appear to care more about the very thing he’s berating – “me thinks he doth protest too much”. 

    As for Calvin, I met him online over a year ago and I’ve always found him engaging, genuine and helpful so this article completely caught me off guard.  

    Even though Klout, the target of the article, measures influence, I believe in a world of abundance and not a zero sum game – others doing well doesn’t diminish what’s working for me in my life and I choose to focus on improving my social media effectiveness and am happy that I don’t have to tear others down or wish them ill to feel better about myself – thank you again for your thoughtful rebuttal. 

  3. Wow. Calvin is a friend of mine. He is one of the sweetest and warmest folks you’ll ever meet and will go way out of the way for you. This guy Brett really went out on a limb here and the branch broke – plain and simple. His credibility is now zilch. So I guess he actually achieved his goal – to make Klout useless – for him.

  4. I met Calvin briefly at a birthday party for a mutual friend. He was warm, engaging, helpful to an old dog learning new tricks. I can’t imagine what sort of cretin would malign him… would threaten him. Especially with a grizzly bear! Angry birds I might understand, but a grizzly bear?

  5. Calvin is a good guy. It is too bad this article is so poorly done. He could have made his point without pointing fingers, but some people just don’t get it.

  6. Here’s my humble opinion and what I plan on posting on that site:

    I am a firm believe in freedom of speech and I am not always in agreement with how
    Klout operates, but this aggregation of words (I won’t dignify it by
    calling it a blog post or even an article) that is a hateful, spiteful,
    uninformed, piece of trash this side of anything coming out of North
    Carolina’s voting population.  Not to mention that they have chosen to
    mess with one of my first Twitter friends (who would talk with me and teach me about Twitter and graphic arts back in the day) and who is nowa real-life dear friend
    and one of the truly one of the sweetest and nicest people I know.  The reason why he has so many followers and friends IRL and on the page. 

    All I
    know is that the only douchebags on that site is the ignoramus (or ignorami) who wrote it
    and the one who let it be published. 

    BUT, if you really
    want to know how I feel, I can sum it up this way –  these dudes give
    the word douchebag a bad name. They are the anti-christs of social media.

  7.  I won’t comment on Klout. I will comment on Calvin… he’s an awesome guy who has never been anything other than utterly decent to me. It bugs the hell out of me that anyone would write, let alone post, that s/he wished Calvin harm.
    But even if Calvin were the biggest jerk I’d ever met? I’d still be horrified and saddened that someone wrote something like that.
    Really? Over an app?

    p.s. Apparently, Brett Michael Dykes didn’t read all the way to the end of the Wired article. Conclusion of article? Not an endorsement, let alone a BJ.

  8. It’s really unfortunate that this is what social media is evolving into. While I’m not a huge fan of the way Klout work, I do support the general idea. There is no perfect way to measure influence online or offline, and no attempt to do so should be taken too seriously. I have had the opportunity to get to know Calvin a number of times and like everyone else here know him to be nothing other than a great guy. Do I get jealous of all the free stuff he gets, yes! But I also know that he is totally deserving of it because of who he is and all the work he does. Wishing people to die is dangerous territory to tread in and at the end of the day has no place and is utterly ridiculous.

  9. Here’s a better question, Brett. Why do you even care whether Calvin has 80,000 Twitter followers, or that others probably value his opinion/recommendations more than yours? Unless this is directly affecting you somehow, do what so many others who share in your contempt likely did and move on, instead of trying to use the reputation of someone you don’t even know as a springboard for your opinions to earn some “edgy” virtual street cred. I don’t even know what Klout is. You know why Brett? Because it doesn’t hold my interest. See, that’s what people tend to do with something they don’t care for that isn’t hurting anybody. They ignore it..

    • And before you say anything, I realize my comments are in the event Brett makes his way to this article. :)

  10. Very well written Jessica. Obviously the Uproxx editor in chief couldn’t be bothered to take a look at Calvin Lee @MayhemStudios’s Twitter stream or he would have gotten a clue as to what it means to actually engage with a huge number of people. It takes being genuine, generous and kind. That is what Calvin is. Thank you Jessica for writing this article for all of us. 

  11. Jessica, that dude is worse than you know! Brett Michael Dykes spent years lying to his wife and then ran out on her and their two young children. His oldest son died a few months ago and that sick bastard doesn’t even attend services. I know his parents and they won’t even speak to him. He’s worse than a bad writer. He’s a very bad person.

    • That’s all very tragic. People behave oddly in grief and losing a child must be the worst grief known to man.
      I could never condemn a person for behaving badly after a tragedy of that magnitude. I can’t imagine being in that position.


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