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Published: January 31, 2017

For UT Junior, Vlogging is More Than a Hobby

Julia Boorse ’17, a UT junior who graduates in December, does not just give campus tours for Admissions as a Spartan Ambassador or oversee students living on campus as a resident assistant. She’s been hosting a YouTube channel for the last eight years, and is known by her more than 65,800 subscribers as Julhippo.

“I started making videos in 2009, when I was only in eighth grade,” said Boorse. “I didn’t take it very seriously until I got later in high school, and I realized this was something I want to be doing for a long time. It’s not just a hobby.”

Since coming to UT, Boorse said she tried to post at least once a week. Video content is entertaining in nature with viewer favorites ranging from “If School Dress Codes Applied Everywhere” to “Top Signs a Girl Likes You” and “Pranking my crush with Justin Bieber ‘Let Me Love You’ Lyrics.”

“I notice trends around me — in a lot of other YouTubers and in pop culture — and I try to create an idea off of that that I think people will want to watch and share with their friends,” said Boorse. When she first started out, vlogs on makeup and fashion were trendy but she knew it wasn’t a good fit for her. And it is a good lesson for others interested in starting their own channel.

“Make videos that you want to make, because you can’t fake it,” Boorse said.

With almost a million views on her most popular post, she should know. Her combined views from all her videos are around 7.2 million. She hopes to top 10 million by the end of the year along with reaching 100,000 subscribers.

“I’m very goal-oriented,” said Boorse, an advertising and public relations major and member of UT Entrepreneurs.

She’s also organized and disciplined. To run a successful YouTube page requires much more than sitting behind a camera and talking. There is planning and creating the content, then editing and posting and answering emails from fans and business contacts. Her UT class in digital arts gave her Photoshop and Illustrator skills she uses to create the thumbnail images on her pages. In her Media Creativity course she learned how there are layers to the creative process and how production value can mean the difference between a viral video and a dud.

“I don’t think people realize the business side that goes into it. It’s not just creating the content. It’s also using search engine optimization to make sure your content is going to reach as many people as it can,” she said. “It’s also researching what other YouTubers are doing. It’s responding to business emails. I have companies reach out almost every day to ask if I want to do sponsorships with them.”

It’s like having another part-time job, and since she has paid advertisers, there is a financial reward too.

“I make money, and it’s something I love doing,” Boorse said. “I’m definitely lucky.”

While Boorse would love to grow her channel full-time, she said the reality of that is pretty challenging. So after graduation, she is looking for a creative advertising agency where she can help create viral videos and fun campaigns.

One of her takeaways from her experience so far has been the acknowledgment of responsibility for her voice.

“I know whether I like it or not people are looking up to me online, and that’s kinda scary,” said Boorse, who has been recognized on the street by her subscribers. “I’m just some random person from (Pen Argyl), Pennsylvania, and all these people are watching — it’s crazy.”

She said the majority of her audience is younger than her, so she always tries to include some type of advice, even if it’s an entertainment video.

“I have to be careful with every single thing I’m doing and posting and try to make a positive impact.”

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