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Getting off the plane, I had no idea what to expect. Although I had traveled abroad several times, I had only before been to Israel and Canada. Europe was a whole new beast to me. After a quick stopover in Copenhagen, I landed in Amsterdam airport early Thursday afternoon to meet up with my girlfriend. The first thing you notice is the bicycles. Literally, not figuratively, everyone in Holland rides a bike. Next you notice how some of the buildings lean in, and everything in the city is so close together (which is why biking is such a viable option there). Although the environment of the big cities such as Amsterdam would make anyone with claustrophobia feel uncomfortable, there is one huge saving grace of Amsterdam: The people. A very straightforward and friendly group of citizens, the Dutch can make anyone feel at home even when thousands of miles away. Giving out free samples of food on free tours, being very tourist friendly and committed to having a homey atmosphere, even with all the congestion of a small-big city like Amsterdam, Holland is an amazing place.

After about a week in Holland, we traveled to Paris. I loved walking through the Latin Quarter where restaurant managers would stand in the doorway and do everything possible to usher you in. But there were numerous pickpockets posing as street vendors whom the local authorities not only ignore, but allow to operate in major areas such as The Louvre. To me, Paris was a day-and-night contrast to Amsterdam. In Amsterdam, the architecture isn’t the prettiest and there aren’t many grand monuments, there is a nice loving atmosphere that makes me say “I want to go back there and immerse myself!”. Paris, for all its amazing monuments and beautiful architecture, is truly a place where I want to say “I’ve been there, I saw all the sights, now I don’t need to go back”. Perhaps it was because I was an American English-speaking tourist, or that’s just how they act in general, but Paris makes you actively aware of the fact that you are just a visitor.

Now how does this relate to Herald Strategies and Public Relations? Everyone wants to look nice, look their best, and be their best. Paris is a model for looking pristine and fine on the outside, with no heart or soul on the inside. A mean atmosphere inside the city really diverts your attention from the surrounding monuments, art, architecture, etc. Even something that should have been as simple and straightforward as the transit system was a pain in the tuchas that preys on tourists. There was nothing involving person-to-person interactions that I can really say was positive in Paris. By contrast, for it’s nicer, but not nearly as grand atmosphere, Holland was extremely personable and fun.

Even though Paris gets all the attention, you’ll hear more people wanting to go back to Amsterdam after visiting than to Paris. You want to be Amsterdam in life, in Social Media and in Public Relations. If you have a Twitter account with 50,000 fake Twitter followers, sure your account will look like it’s amazing and grand. However, the number of interactions with actual people that will help promote you or your business will be so miniscule that you’ll wonder how worth it it really is. Twitter is a large smorgasbord of different voices for different events, people, causes, groups, etc. with with millions of Tweets going out on a daily basis. Having fake followers does nothing to help you, you need to be personal and get as many “Organic” followers as possible. Be relatable, courteous, outgoing, and professional. Don’t assume that because your Twitter account looks great that it will translate into business and growth opportunities. Sure someone might visit your account because of the large number of followers, “surely s/he is doing something right!” but once they find that you have done nothing but faked your popularity, and you aren’t personable at all, they will simply forget about you and move on to the next place. They’ve been there, seen all the sights, and now they don’t need to go back. In short, be the small but personable Amsterdam!

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