Professional Development
Events / Social media

Podcasts, politics and products: What happened at #SMWiFairfax

The Sept. 14 provided a look at social media's influence on big industries.

A panel discussion on podcasts at SMWi Fairfax 2017. (Photo by George Mocharko)

The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, the people who help bring businesses from around the world to locate their office in the county, partnered with Social Media Week on September 14 to talk about the technologies and platforms that most of us engage with each other on a daily basis.

The half-day event, sponsored by Capital One and held at its headquarters, brought in around 300 people to talk about citizen engagement through social media, the digital marketing landscape, podcasting, and politics.

“In the last few years we have seen an influx of companies that work in a number of digital fields – everything from digital marketing to augmented reality,” said Gerald L. Gordon, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. “It’s an opportunity to showcase these new technology strengths, as well as the thought leadership, innovation and creativity that is happening here because of them and their employees,” he said.

It wasn’t so long ago that companies and large organizations tried to limit the use of social media on a daily basis. Now they are embracing it.

The day’s first panel discussion focused on the ways government agencies are looking to engage with citizens. Social media professionals from the Fairfax County Police DepartmentNASA’s Goddard Space Flight CenterDefense Intelligence Agency, and CIA all spoke about the fine balance of being responsive to their stakeholders, yet understanding the limits of what they can and cannot share on public platforms.

During the “Next Big Thing” discussion, speakers from Capital OneBooz Allen HamiltonAmazon Web ServicesCVENT spoke about the many new ways that social media now drives their marketing and recruiting efforts.

Podcasting, surprisingly, was discussed as an emerging technology used in social media. The ability for anyone to get a microphone, an idea, and some editing software appears to be increasingly upending how content is created and consumed while transforming the traditional media landscape of who is able to create content.

The event wrapped up with a group of top political reporters talking about how social media has changed public discourse. Twitter has been a huge driver in how public policy is now put forth, debated, and argued about, and the speakers shared stories of the good and the bad of social media, including how journalists and reporters have been harassed and intimidated online.

Tech companies exhibiting at the event include:

  • Akyumen Technologies, who create tech products for global entertainment, education and telemedicine.
  • Big Parser, used Amazon technology to answer questions about the event.
  • Notion Theory, who hosted a virtual reality arcade.
  • T.A.G. Labs, offered an arcade experience, with retro and modern video games.

Naturally, the event itself was highlighted on social media. Tweets and updates from SMWi Fairfax can be read here.


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