Michigan State Spartan Mike Smalls Jr. explains what it’s like being a social media star
He’s significantly more calm and collected IRL
Mike Smalls Jr. is a sophomore here at Michigan State University. But one thing you might not have known, is this small town Spartan has over 22,000 Insta followers, 33,000 Twitter followers, and 11 million views on YouNow.
We sat down with Mike to talk about how he manages being a Spartan, as well as a social media star. Mike is an advertising major, and he chose advertising to help with his entertainment career. Beyond his massive social media following, he’s no different than any other Spartan on campus. His favorite thing to do when he’s not posting is to go out to eat with friends, watch movies, and rap. On campus, Mike is a part of F.A.M.I.L.Y & Media SandBox. For family, he co-hosted the Battle of the Orgs, and is the Vice President for Media Sandbox. We got the chance to talk to Mike about his life at MSU and the path he took to jumpstart his career.
How’d you get such a large following of people?
First I started on Twitter, I mastered the system and figured out the patterns, which I implemented into a daily routine. I then found my passion for entertainment and comedy and began posting videos on a platform called ‘Keek’ — this launched my brand and I began posting videos everyday. After a while, I found that the more I posted, the more I grew. I was later granted the opportunity to co-host the 2014 Nickelodeon Teen Choice Awards, which again, sky-rocketed my followings.
How did you know you wanted to get into entertainment?
When I was about 13 I made my first comedy sketch with my sisters phone, and since then I always just made videos for myself just because they were fun to make. When I turned 14, I decided to make a ‘Keek’ account out of boredom. And as soon as I received my first like, I knew that entertainment was for me.
Are you as goofy in regular life as you are in your videos?
No, I’m more calm and collected to be honest, but still have the same personality, if that makes sense.
How do you get the confidence to be so outgoing and wild in your videos?
The confidence comes from practice. I’ve been doing this for five years, and I found that the more I put myself out there, fail, and come out of my comfort zone, the more confidence I gain.
What’s next for you? Have any exciting projects coming up?
Yes! I’m actually releasing my first [hip-hop]single soon! And I am a featured creator for VidCon which will be in June in California.
Is there anything about yourself that you want people to know about you?
Overthinking things got me to where I’m at today, yet overthinking things has been a disadvantage for me as well.
With that being said, what would you say to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
People often confuse success on social media with being “talented”, but when it comes down to it, it’s social. Not a talent show. In order to be successful, you just need to have a likable personality. But being talented is just a plus. Faith, consistency, and hard work is all it takes.