If you have ever come across a viral video online that's a social experiment, chances are, it was made by Joey Salads.
The 22-year-old social media star first found his claim to fame on Vine, and took that feeling and ran with it. His first big, blowout successes came with prank videos that people went crazy over, and since then he's expanded to covering social experiments.
His most recent viral success involved the conversations around public breastfeeding and how people and companies have handled the situations. His video was covered by sites like The Huffington Post, The Independent, Fox News, and more.
This weekend, at SXSW Salads participated in the Native.Digital Panel, all about social media and the future of video on the Internet, and we were there to catch up with him on all of his latest work. He revealed to us some pretty big aspirations he has beyond just viral video creation.
Check out our full interview with him below:
When did you first realize social would be a huge part of your career and your life?
It was when I started blowing up on Vine. Back then, I was working at a pizzeria, and as an ice cream truck man. But, I got my first brand deal for a Vine video, and I quit my jobs. Then, I dropped out of school as more deals kept coming in.
The reason why I quit my jobs and dropped out of school is that, when I was in 4th grade and YouTube just came out, I went on realized that this is exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to make YouTube videos. My friends and I would make dumb little videos, skits, and it was my dream to blow up on the Internet. It didn't happen until Vine came out. I was trying to grow up a little, I had told myself, you gotta stop, you're going to college –- stop making videos so I kind of gave up on it. But when Vine came out, I just did it for fun, and it blew up. So I took the ball with it and ran, and now I'm here.
Do you have a personal favorite social network – that you're on all the time?
I like YouTube and Facebook. All I like to do is make my videos and post them.
What made you decide to go the direction of pranks and social experiments in your videos, versus maybe sketch comedy or something else?
I started out doing sketches on Vine, but then I had a series called 'It's Bashin' Time' which was more of a prank series, and that's what blew up. So I decided to stick with the prank genre, Then one day I came up with a video idea where I abduct people's kids and get their reactions, and it turned into a social experiment. It showed how easy it was for a stranger to abduct someone's child.
That video blew up, it got a ton of views in the first day alone. So I knew I had to do more of those, so I kept doing the social experiment thing. So, then I was doing both pranks and social experiments. Now I'm trying to move to only doing social experiments.
Have you had any big social experiment pranks/fails?
Yeah plenty, you guys will just never see them. There are so many deleted scenes, I can't even think of them off the top of my head.
What are some of your biggest passions outside of social media?
I like business, and I've been getting into politics. I'm planning on eventually running for Mayor of New York City.
What's one of the most surprising things you've learned along the way, doing all of this?
I've learned that people love controversy. Older people, especially. On YouTube, It's a younger audience, and the controversy stuff doesn't hit as much. But if I put social experiment videos on Facebook it'll get a ton of views. I try to make videos for everybody –- younger people love prank videos, and older people love social experiments.
See more photos below from SXSW:
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