The numbers say it all.
Since the advent of social media, no one from Carroll has built a more forceful online presence than Kayd Nissen, who has mastered and monetized TikTok, a video-sharing platform popular with younger Internet users.
Nissen has amassed a celebrity-level profile on TikTok (@kaydnissen) with 390,800 followers and 19.1 million views of his videos, many of them clips centered on Carroll High School baseball and softball and now, Clear Creek Amana football — a high school team near the University of Iowa where the 20-year-old 2019 Carroll High School alum goes to college.
One recent clip of a pensive Amana player garnered 2.3 million views.
“It’s just started to blow up like crazy,” Nissen said.
At times this summer, Nissen pulled in roughly $2,000 a month from TikTok for the traffic he delivered to the social media company.
“It’s helping me purchase equipment that I want,” Nissen said.
With expert curation and choreography, Nissen elevated several CHS players to statewide recognition — and even beyond — with the short, clever video clips.
“I really try to make the audience feel like they know these kids,” he said.
One Carroll High Schooler who enjoyed a star turn on Nissen’s TikTok feed is Tyson Lundstrom, a huge Tiger baseball fan and team manager — and a teen with autism. Tyson got into a game in late June. The opposing team from Perry, the hometown of Lundstrom’s parents, Joel and Kristen, joined in the fun as Tyson got a hit and run — a moment Nissen chronicled warmly. It’s received more than 300,000 views so far — thrilling the Lundstroms and the CHS community, and inspiring others around the nation.
“I realized I needed to capture this moment,” Nissen said. “Tyson has been supporting these guys as long as they’ve been there.”
Joel Lundstrom, the provost of the Carroll campus of Des Moines Area Community College, asked his son what it was like to get a hit and Tyson said, “It was awesome!”
Kristen said that the day after Kayd posted the video, she went to the grocery store with Tyson and everyone working and shopping there said to Tyson, “Great job, and we saw your video.”
“It was great to see the families from Perry on social media excited to have been a part of Tyson’s hit,” Joel Lundstrom said. “As much as Tyson loved his moment, I think he has loved riding the bus and being in the dugout every day just as much. It means a lot to be included and accepted.”
As for Nissen, look for his star to continue to rise. He’s had interaction with Major League Baseball. And representatives from singer John Fogerty reached out about collaboration on a video clip tied to the musician’s famous song, “Centerfield” — often known as the “put me in, Coach, I’m ready to play” song in reference to the iconic lines from the catchy tune.
At first, Nissen drew a blank when hearing Fogerty’s name.
“I called my mom and she said, ‘You do not know who John Fogerty is? His song plays every day,’ ” Nissen said.
Nissen, a son of Lance and Nora Nissen, who work at Pella Corp. and Graphic Edge respectively, is double-majoring in journalism and mass communications and sports and recreation management.
A junior in Iowa City, he’s doing some film work with the Iowa Hawkeyes this year as well. He hopes to pursue a career in baseball videography and journalism — but with that said, his football videos from Amana are racking up the views.
Nissen credits the Tiger Vision program at CHS for some early inspiration. He’s also largely self-taught.
“I really just taught myself how to direct video to a certain audience,” Nissen said. “I just found a way to post things people want to watch. It just doesn’t feel like work to me. That’s the main point.”