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New age media and the great griftening

I use to watch a lot of hardware and software tech-tubers and review channels right around when they took off in popularity. This was somewhere around late 2000‘s and early 10‘s. Prior to that, there weren’t really any big flashy tech-channels like you see today, so it was mostly made up by the hobbyist and podcaster sort. Just small time stuff really.

Today’s tech channels are on a whole other level though. What was once a quiet nerd centric hobby is now re-packaged and hoisted up onto the mass media alter of consumption with flashy intros, loud noisy music, and fast talking high octane hosts hopped up on speed. This isn’t anything new when small time hobbies are dressed up and rolled out into the mainstream eye, but I’ve noticed a trend in behavior over the decade among these sort of channels.

When they first start off, they typically appear as honest down to earth folk sharing their interests, stories, and a little technical experience. In all, a very personable sort! But as time progresses, they grow in popularity and seem to let it go to their heads.

The comfy old bedroom and garage are transformed into a cluttered neon-lit griftcave stacked to the ceiling in merchandise. Their names and logos scrawled wherever they could fit, various trophies, knickknacks and mementos that project their inflated egos and unmaintainable consumerist lifestyles.

Some of them might really hit the jackpot and move into a studio set decked out in professional lighting and recording equipment along with a camera crew!

No longer are they just a nerd talking about Legos and computers from a crappy webcam and $15 Logitech headset. They’ve made it big time, and have fans now and a little money too! They begin to believe themselves to be a voice of profound knowledge and an authority simply for knowing how to smile for the camera and sell hats.

A few quotes describing grifters:

  • Grifters and con artists are very proficient with the use of words. They excel at the art of persuasion by convincing you to do something you don’t want to do. They are what is classified as “smooth” and gifted with communication. Often, their verbal skills are combined with fast talking. A grifter talks fast so you have difficulty ascertaining the details.
  • The grifter presents you with something you may perceive as being a problem, and then offers to solve it.
  • Swindlers often try to create a sense of urgency for you to act immediately or make it sound so easy.
  • A con artist’s confidence level is off-the-charts high. They are so confident of what they are talking about that you can believe anything is possible. They have no problem lying and they show little signs of true empathy.
  • They bounce off every objection and come back to hammer the offer. But, they are charming and full of charisma as they do it. They can come off as being very likeable to gain your good graces.
  • A grifter con artist often has a scheme that hinges on him/her being a person of authority. This lends credence and credibility to their scam.

Any of that sound familiar?

A young audience captivated by a grifter

These guys are an evolution of the infomercial pitchmen like Mike Rowe, Billy Mays, and Phil Swift with a hybrid cross into televangelists like Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, and Kenneth Copeland.

They’ll peddle just about anything if there’s a profit to be made while simultaneously mixing it with motivational speaking and sweet words of success. They’ll echo the sentiments of their target demographic, appeal to pop-culture trends, and even drag in their own families and children to play along in the act. While pitchmen would ordinarily stay within the domain of their products and televangelists likewise, internet grifters are largely untethered with an unrestricted ease of accessibility into any demographic. They can lean in on the support of their sponsors or the support of their fanbase however it may suit them with little consequence.

One day they could be peddling an RTX RGB botnet vacuum that nobody cares about and accuse anyone growing tired of the grift as thieves and pirates. Then the next day, espouse their unhinged low-key genocidal eugenic beliefs for an impressionable audience to lap up.

Talk about jumping the shark, what sane person talks like this!?

The Cozy way to spotting YouTurd tech grifters. You could apply this to other forms of YouTurd grifting too!

  1. Read thru the bullet list above that describes the characteristics of a grifter, it’s pretty spot on!
  2. Obnoxious repetition and reminders to donate and buy merchandise.
  3. Staged product placement with labels always facing the camera.
  4. A cult of personality tied into their merchandise and branded products.
  5. Unwarranted opinions and uneducated irrational responses of current issues and political affairs to boost viewer engagement.
  6. A bellicose temperament toward any criticism or questioning of their supposed intellect.
  7. An obsession with branding, fashion, money, fame and viewer counts.

To put it plainly, these are peddlers and fraudsters LARPing in geek-chique. After gaining a modicum of notoriety, some of them if not most, are acquired in various ways by corporate and state sponsors as bargain bin influencer’s. Internet grifters are far more effective in amassing and influencing an audience than faceless bots on social networks or irrelevant movie stars from dying media formats.

I can’t get too upset about them being here though, because in a small way, they can still serve a function. A grifters existence is emergent given the right conditions, and can serve as a sort of bellwether that something isn’t quite right. There’s a reason they’ve had little success anywhere else outside the few large internet media platforms (i.e. Twitter, YouTube, Twitch), and that’s because advertising conglomerates promote, cultivate, and own them.

Nothing screams “I’m a tool!,” like wearing a grifters merch in public.

This sort of behavior is normalized and reinforced as a “good thing” by these platforms, because it generates engagement and therefor profit; despite the damage it causes. Not every grifter on the griftnet is aware of what they are or what they’ve become, and think nothing of it.

Tech-tubers can make for an okay resource in demonstrating stuff with detail and giving a close look up of whatever you may be interested in, but don’t let them string you along and hoodwink you with their good looks and charismatic charm. They might call themselves entertainers, motivators, or whatever, but let’s not fool ourselves here. They’re sales men, not pastors.

Thanks for reading my blog!

Date: 2022-10-21

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  • Really is widespread. Griftnet is a good name for it. Another trend where theres a subtype of grifters that would start out by catering to what would seem like 'right wing' or 'based' opinions, then flip the switch and subvert once they have numbers.
    Jan 17, 2023 Permalink Reply
    • Thanks for posting this. Fortunately, most of the tech-Youtube channels I watch tend to be smaller youtubers or those who make content on retrocomputer (it's not new and shiny so you are rarely gonna see grifters there!). Keep up the good work as always!
      Nov 12, 2022 Permalink Reply
      • I wonder if the e-celebs truly believe in the Current Thing (tm) or just parrot it due to fear of losing their well paying internet job?
        Nov 10, 2022 Permalink Reply
        • Method actors. They find excuses in their mind to convince themselves hard enough of that thing so they never slip up. 
          Jan 17, 2023 Permalink Reply
        • I think grifters are just the natural evolution of the e-celeb. Considering production values and standards are so high, you either do it full time or your will never make it and that means taking all the offers and right opinions to succeed.
          Oct 22, 2022 Permalink Reply
          • I really like this post, it manages to put into words the burning hate I have for these types of people. Really cathartic.
            Oct 22, 2022 Permalink Reply
            • It is so sad that even good people throw their honesty away for a few shekels at the faintest hint of a following. 
              I wonder if that faggot Linus knows that he is grifting, and simply doesn't care, or has slipped into it. Which is worse, I do not know.
              Dec 15, 2022 Permalink Reply
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