This Friday is one of my favorite days of the year; Queen’s Day! This is a Dutch holiday when we celebrate our former queens. The festivities are monstrous. Amsterdam, a city of 900,000, will be visited by another 700,000 people ready to party. The whole city is filled with outside bars and stages, and everybody is in a good, relaxed mood. It seems like nothing can be frustrating on this day…..well almost nothing. Everybody I know will be in the city, and since I want to see all my friends on this day, I have to cover a lot of miles. But how do you find your friends in an overloaded city, where 110 yards takes about 30 minutes to cover? Use your mobile phone? So many people try to call their friends and family on this day, so the network is overloaded and you can’t reach anybody.
Last year my friends and I took a different approach; we kept each other up to date through Twitter, and called each other through Skype. This was all possible since most of my friends are iPhone users. And we did not have any trouble finding each other. If the crowd and music around us was too loud to have a reasonable phone call, we would share our location on Twitter, and the best thing happened, other people my friends and I knew would show up at the locations we tweeted. Twitter acted as a party guide.
After a couple of days I heard many people used Twitter and Skype to communicate with each other on Queen’s Day and I was not surprised. It worked really well and is another example of how social media is making our lives easier.
Today at lunch, I read an article on AT5, an Amsterdam news site, that said there is a special application for your phone available for upcoming Queen’s Day. With this application you have party updates every hour, tips, and even pictures so you can see how busy some places are. The application is for free and available in Dutch and English, so tourists can also make use of it. This is the next step in making it easier to coordinate yourself on Queen’s Day in Amsterdam, and practically every overloaded area.
Unfortunately, I cannot attend this year since I’m in Boston, but I’m not too sad since I can see where my friends go through Twitter.
By Mick van Est