Imagine looking at the number of followers you have on a social media account and seeing that number hit one million. That is soon to be the reality for Samuel Okafor, a student here at MSU who has 930,000 followers and counting on the social media app, Vine.
Okafor, who goes by the Vine handle “SamTakesOff,” (https://vine.co/SamTakesOff) began making the six-second comedy videos that are showcased on the app, in the summer of 2013. He quickly gathered a following that grew from several hundred to thousands within months. Okafor believes he was able to successfully garner a large following quickly because he started posting on Vine when it was still a brand new app.
Okafor, who is a sophomore at MSU majoring in Computer Science, hopes to get further into the world of entertainment, post-MSU. It shouldn’t be hard with the amount of exposure he is receiving thanks to Vine. Just recently he passed 300 million “loops” or total views on all of his videos. To put that into perspective, that is roughly the population of the U.S.A.
He has gotten so much attention from Vine that he has even had to hire a manager, who negotiates prices for events that he could possibly be booked for. Most recently, Okafor was booked to host a show in Canada named “AfroGala” that consisted of musical performances, fashion segments and more and was held on November 1st. His manager is also working on a website for him.
Being a social media superstar like Okafor can reap enormous benefits. Social media superstars are often able to get deals in television or other forms of media due to the wide amount of exposure they have. They can earn ad revenue from websites like YouTube and receive compensation from advertisers for using their products in their videos or posts.
It isn’t the easiest to balance a life as a social media superstar and also as a student. According to Okafor, “Freshman year it was definitely hard…My priority was just Vine and what happened was I didn’t have a good outcome in school.” This year Okafor says he has school first and Vine second, but he still posts on Vine at least once a week, if not more.
Despite all of his newfound exposure and attention, Okafor is very humble about it.
“I had absolutely no idea of his popularity on Vine and I have been living with him for two months!” explained Ryan Aleman, Okafor’s roommate on campus.
As humble as he is, Okafor is often recognized on campus by fellow students who have seen his videos. For example, while on an elevator on the way to his dorm one day, upon leaving the elevator, Sam heard a group of student say, “Ooh we know where the famous vine guy lives now!”
The distinctive red-tiled roofs of the campus can be seen in the backdrop of some of his videos, as well as his dorm room.
Prior to MSU and his Vine popularity, Okafor was born in Marietta, Georgia and then after about a decade moved to Woodbridge, New Jersey. After a few years in Woodbridge he moved to Bordentown, NJ, where he currently resides when school is not in session.
A passion of Okafor’s that stands out is his love for making music. He was making music even before making videos and saw Vine as an outlet to introduce people to his music.
“When I got on Vine I was like, ‘Okay, if I become big on Vine, I’m just going to convert it back to my music,’” he says. His most recent song to be released is titled “Shut Up and Dance,” an up-tempo, catchy Afrobeat song available to download for free.
Okafor’s advice for anyone who is looking to make it big in social media like he has is: “Be yourself. Your fan base will be stronger if you just be yourself.”
You can follow Sam Okafor on Vine/Twitter/Instagram @SamTakesOff
Montclair State | New Jersey