Bridging the cultural divide

Bridging the Cultural Divide with Digital Media

Blogger: Ingrid de Jong
Blogger: Ingrid Joffe

Guess how far Vancouver is from Amsterdam. Geographically- and culturally-speaking, they’re two very different worlds. But in digital media terms, we’re practically neighbours.

Vancouver is the home base of Mass Media Marketing — we’re located about 7,600 kilometers west of Amsterdam. That’s about 4,700 miles for our American friends. Seems quite far, but when you think of it in social media terms, it’s just a conversation away.

When my partner Marc Joffe and I went to Amsterdam recently, there were obvious differences as well as many interesting similarities between these two cities. But one similarity we noticed was how social media travels seamlessly across cultures and oceans.

First let’s look at some key differences between the two cities: Vancouver was established in 1886 and frankly some of its old growth trees are older than the city. It has a population of 578,000 (in 2006) across 114 sq km.

Meanwhile, Amsterdam was founded in the 12th century. Many buildings from the 1400s are still standing, or leaning now. And its population of more than 1.3 million lives in a 166 sq km area.

While Amsterdam is bathed in history and boasts tremendous architecture, art and hundreds of canals, it has a lot in common with Vancouver.

Both sit on a west coast, or as we affectionately call it in Vancouver, the “wet coast.” Both are multi-cultural. You’re spoiled for choice to find almost any kind of food you crave, from Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Ethiopian, Caribbean, Italian, French, PanAsian. They are almost on the same latitude, share mild winters, warm summers and host friendly laid-back charm.

Amsterdam canal

When Marc and I went to Amsterdam for Christmas, we immersed ourselves in Dutch culture and explored the differences in marketing across the pond. We immediately noticed how advanced Europe’s technology is, from the 3D TVs to their prolific use of mobile marketing and social media.

We were pleasantly surprised to find this common “connection.” At our hotel in the university city of Utrecht, we received an impromptu Twitter invite from a digital media specialist from Belgium who was in town on business. Great to meet you @rienvdb!

And when Marc and I reached out to our LinkedIn contacts, we discovered a wealth of support and offers to network with our Dutch contacts.

Amsterdam is the city I was born in and still captures my heart. While I grew up speaking Dutch, I also made Vancouver my new home. Today I’ve gained new appreciation for the qualities of both cities.

We know that we can bridge the cultural divide and connect with people close to home and across the world through the magic of social media and digital networking.

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Need the advantage of an online marketing consultant? My name is Marc Joffe and I have broad international experience in display, search, and social media. As a commercially minded search marketer that’s what I love to do. I work from Amsterdam, The Netherlands and make a great Dutch “toastie.” @massmediamarket. I vlog about display, seo and marketing. Subscribe to my new youTube channel