Social Media…The New Career?

Lily Barrera , Contributor to Scratch Paper

Who would’ve thought that within the last two decades social media would become such a useful aspect in the world we live in today? It has become a way for everyone around the world to influence and interact with one another.        

Former Warren Township High School student, Branden Ellis, has taken full advantage of that social media world. Branden has been able to grow a following on social media by posting relatable basketball videos on TikTok,  Instagram, etc. He is not limited to those types of videos but that is his main content. Branden currently has 112.2k followers on TikTok and 5.1M likes throughout all of his videos. 

Branden played two sports in high school which were track and field and basketball. He was equally talented in both sports he played but basketball always had his heart. So, he continued his basketball and academic career at Lynn University in Florida.  “Lynn offered great academics, athletics, and was in a location that I wanted to live in when I graduated. Lynn also does a very good job of fostering connections with Alumni and the community which has helped me tremendously. I did not know that I could even do social media when I made my college decision, but I was lucky enough to be at a school that supported me and helped me achieve some really cool things.” He also explained, “I loved basketball more than track. I was always forced to run track because my sister was so good at it growing up. However, I am thankful that I ran track because it set me up for success in basketball and winning state was a great experience and something that built my confidence up to pursue other endeavors.”  I even had the chance to talk to Branden’s former coaches from his time at Warren.

Coach Jasnoch, Branden’s former basketball coach, explained how talented Branden was when it came to playing basketball for him, “Branden was a special talent. He started playing on the Varsity team his Sophomore year so I was able to coach him for 3 years. I was able to watch him grow as a leader. Branden was a quiet but effective leader of his teams. He was confident of his abilities and who he was as a person. This enabled him to reach out and help people on the team and around the school. As a basketball player Branden was incredibly talented athlete and skilled basketball player. He could dominate a game but he was always a team player. He put the goals of the team first. We won the Conference Championship his Senior year and lost a very close game in the Regional Championship of the State Tournament that year. I was really happy to see him continue playing in college and it seems he found a great fit with Lynn University. I, like many other people, follow him on social media. He is a great representative for his school.”

Coach Jecmen, his former high jump coach, talked about Branden’s dedication to the sport and how happy and proud he was to see him succeed.  “Branden was always focused on his technique and needs when practicing. We always tried to find  different approaches and techniques that would enhance the skills he already had. There’s a lot that goes into high jumping, from the approach, the curve, and then the three different phases of the actual jump. Branden was always coachable and was able to take the best techniques and make them his own. I was excited for Branden when he went to Lynn University. Selfishly, I would’ve loved to see him continue with jumping, but I was proud of him for his honesty to want to play basketball. And fish. Branden loves to fish and what better place than Florida to fish?”Branden certainly left his mark on the people at Warren and since then has been able to make something great out of it. He has had the opportunity to be featured on many big time social media accounts, magazines, and platforms. Two of them being ESPN for a dunk competition and Slam Magazine.  “It is truly an amazing feeling to have my content be shared on these platforms such as House of Highlights, Ball Is Life, Overtime, and many others. I was also in Slam magazine which was mind blowing to go to a store and buy a magazine that I was featured in. I love that my content has been able to catch the attention of millions of people and that makes it worth the time and effort I put in. My time on ESPN was a great way to end my college career and it was an experience I will never forget.”

With being featured in a variety of things he comes in contact with many companies. He was able to give insight on how sponsorships and business relationships form to further his social media career. “I had a great opportunity to turn my social media into an income source and it varies a lot based on contract length, budget, and deliverables. The two main income streams from my social media are promos and sponsorships. A promo can be anything from featuring a product in the background of a video to doing a product review on camera.  I have worked with Champs Sport, The Cheesecake Factory, Doordash, and many other companies for promotions. Sponsorships are longer term contracts that require multiple videos over a set period of time. I am sponsored by a water bottle company, a new app called MonkiC, and have had others in the past.”  And with that being said, Branden is currently an Admission Communications Coordinator at Lynn University working in the office of admission and outside of work he films TikToks, flips furniture, and wants to start a boat rental company down in Florida.  He wants to be able to inspire the people around him and encourage people to do what makes them happy.  “My advice is to just go for it and put your effort into something you enjoy. I started my social media on a random day because I thought I had good video ideas and always wanted to be an influencer/content creator. Over the next 2 years I would make a clothing line, do beach clean ups, start an LLC, and experience some of the things I used to dream about. If you have the determination and drive you can do anything you put your mind to.”