Walking into my Advertising 101 class, fall of my junior year, my professor posed a simple question to the class: “how many social media platforms are you active on and which ones”? With most that answered being a millennial under 23, the answers were quite predictable: two- to- three, leaning mostly towards Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter.

Then, it was my turn to answer. Currently, I have 11 standard social media apps on my phone (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook Messenger, YouTube, LinkedIn, Yelp, and Periscope). Not to mention the ones specific to makeup (Ipsy), money transactions (Venmo), and various other shopping apps that double as social media (Etsy, Groupon, Amazon, just to name a few).

Well, judging by the look on my professor’s face, this was not a good answer. His eyebrows furrowed with concern, “But Miss Salisbury, that’s so many! Do you keep up with all of them regularly?” To be honest, I do.

I love social media. The various platforms allow me to interact with people across the globe. I can find people with similar interests and hobbies. I can try new things, like recipes and new makeup techniques. Social media even introduces me to things I would have never thought I was interested in if I didn’t find them on the various platforms I’m able to engage with.

The shocked look on my professor and my classmates’ faces was enough to reevaluate my obsession and consider taking a step back from it. But, as soon as that thought entered my mind, it exited, simply because based on my experience, being active on social media is a good thing–a great thing actually!

Why not take advantage of the fact that in 2017, you carry a computer in your pocket? Why not learn a new hobby by searching for it online? Through social media (and my dad’s very watchful eye) I’ve learned to cook. Through social media I’ve found a love for makeup. Through social media I’ve expanded my love of reading. And I did this all for free, because I have an email account. Amazing.

Understanding how millennials use social media platforms is a great way for businesses to reach our key demographic. Creating content and spreading it across the myriad available platforms might sound scary, but it’s completely do-able. Millennials and Gen Zs both love learning and do so visually. Knowing how to reach them is half the battle. Create infographics, videos, just simply interact with them! They’re all doing it, why shouldn’t you?