Home Prices Up, Building Permits Down — The latest Fairfax County economic indicators show that home prices are up 5.8 percent year-over-year, but single-family building permits are down 25.9 percent. [Fairfax County]
Dental Office Celebrating 15 Year Anniversary — “While The Boro and other developments are in progress nearby, Nicole Van’s dental office has become a mainstay in the community.” [Patch]
Local Teen Performing at Kennedy Center — Fourteen-year-old Falls Church resident Makenzie Hymes “will have the opportunity to perform on the biggest stage of her still-young dancing career so far as Clara in Ballet West’s new production of The Nutcracker, which will have its Washington, D.C., premiere at the Kennedy Center Opera House on Dec. 5.” [Fairfax Times]
The Changing Face of Fairfax County — “We have a greater diversity of racial and ethnic population than we did two decades ago. Compared to 2000, Asian and Pacific Islanders made up the highest increase, from 13.1 to 19.5 percent in 2018. Our Hispanic population increased from 11 to 16.2 percent.” [Fairfax County]
FCPD Social Media Star Retiring — “In bittersweet news, our beloved K9 Moose is retiring! On more than 250 posts, Moose has earned over 40,000 combined likes across all of our social media platforms.” [Facebook]
‘Fish Taco’ Coming to Boro in Tysons — “Fish Taco, a fast-casual Mexican restaurant with three locations in Maryland, plans to open its first Virginia store at the Boro development in Tysons… by June next year. A rep for Fish Taco tells Eater the new location in the mixed-use development will have space for 60 customers to consume taco platters, salads, rice bowls, burritos, and quesadillas — all utilizing local and seasonal ingredients.” [Eater]
Mall Hours for Black Friday — “Tysons Corner Center… will be open for 28 hours straight. This year, the mall opens at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 22 and will remain open Friday, Nov. 23 from midnight-10 p.m. Across Chain Bridge Road, Tysons Galleria will be closed on Thanksgiving. On Black Friday, hours will be 8 a.m.-9 p.m.” [Patch]
Dulles Toll Road Rates Going Up — “The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority board of directors voted Nov. 14 to increase rates on the toll road again, starting this coming January. Drivers of two-axle vehicles, who now pay $2.50 at the main toll plaza, will see that rate jump to $3.25, and those entering or exiting tolled ramps will pay $1.50, up from the current $1.” [InsideNova]
Herndon Site Still in the Running for Apple — Though Apple is “seriously” looking at a site in Tysons for a large new East Coast office, the company is also eyeing some other locations, like the 26-acre, state-owned Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon and sites in Raleigh, N.C. and Atlanta, Georgia. [Washington Business Journal]
McLean Blood Drive Was a Success — “With the holiday season quickly approaching, hospitals are continuously using blood products faster than donations are replacing them. With an urgent blood drive, sponsored by McLean Dermatology and Skin Care Center, volunteers and staff aimed to reach a goal of getting 40 donors during this Sunday’s drive — in which the goal was met.” [WJLA]
Parks Dept. Riffs on Facebook Outage — A tweet this morning from Fairfax County Parks: “Facebook and Instagram are down. Seems like a great excuse to take a walk and enjoy some face-to-face conversation in a park.” [Twitter]
(Updated at 9 p.m.) Some 425 people attended today’s Social Media Week Fairfax event in Tysons, absorbing insights and ideas for anyone working in social media, marketing or startups.
The event, hosted by Fairfax County Economic Development Authority at Capital One headquarters, was a one-day convention of panels and networking that primarily focused on how businesses, large and small, engage on social media.
The keynote speaker and celebrity for the PR world was Judy Smith, a crisis management expert and the inspiration for the show Scandal. The biggest points Smith highlighted were speed and tone of responses to calamity.
“There’s an appreciation of mistakes when you embrace it and you own it,” said Smith.
Smith said organizations often wait more — sometimes much more — than 45 minutes before responding to an incident, by which time public opinion has already started to form.
One cause, according to Smith, is that companies can get tangled up in communications between different departments. Companies can also be slow to admit the whole truth, while Smith says the best answer is usually just to let all of the bad news come out at once like tearing off a Band-aid.
“You also have to pick the best time and vehicle to respond,” said Smith. “There was a CEO who apologized in 15 posts on Twitter. Given the seriousness of the matter, I would not have responded to that on Twitter. If a food company has a massive recall where people are sick or dying, I wouldn’t tweet ‘sorry about the bad food.'”
Smith said part of working in crisis management is working on controlling the narrative. In her own life, when the producers on Scandal approached her about adding in an intimate relationship between her character and the President, Smith said she got on the phone with President George H.W. Bush, for whom she had worked as a press secretary, to let him know.
Smith said when President Bush called her back and left a voicemail, joking that “you called me” and “you left me,” she fired back that he couldn’t make jokes about that.
“If you don’t follow these talking points,” Smith recalled telling Bush, “I will call Barbara.”
These days, Smith said things are moving faster in social media, saying her largest concern is that the population seems to have increasing difficulty discerning fact from fiction.
“One year ago, there was something I was looking at on social media and it was trending too fast,” Smith said. “When my team checked, it was because the other side had hired two bot companies to tweet about it. That’s how it went from zero to five million tweets in two minutes.”
Despite the prevalence of untruth on social media, Amanda Waas and Tammy Abraham from National Geographic emphasized the importance of being genuine.
“People can see right through anything on social media,” said Tammy Abraham. “If you’re not authentic, if it doesn’t feel true, everyone knows it.”
To this end, Abraham said that the National Geographic’s Instagram account is handled almost exclusively by photographers in the field. There are general guidelines, but Abraham said letting photojournalists have unfiltered access to the social media has helped build a following for the brand.
This extends to working with sponsored content as well.
“We’re not just going to post an ad,” said Waas. “Even for branded content, it needs to follow certain guidelines.”
“We have to find a common place to tell an authentic story,” said Abraham. “We can’t tap into an authentic story without something meaningful to tell.”
Rapid Pace of Tysons Development — The pace of development in Tysons is impressing even seasoned local business people. At a recent Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce breakfast, the gathered crowd was wowed by a slide showing buildings now under construction and approved developments in Tysons. [InsideNova]
Local Firms Place High on Fortune List — From the most recent FCEDA E-Bird: “Hilton and Mars Inc. are among the top three places to work — not just in Fairfax County but in the world according to Fortune.com. San Francisco-based Salesforce, Tysons Corner-based Hilton and McLean-based Mars ranked 1-2-3 based on employee surveys conducted by Fortune partner Great Place to Work around the world. Companies racked up points based on respect, fairness, pride, camaraderie, and trust.” [Fortune]
FCPS Digital Citizenship Week — “This week is Digital Citizenship Week in our county schools and it’s important for parents/guardians to help children become safe, ethical, responsible and respectful digital citizens.” [Fairfax County]
Cvent Makes Big Acquisition — Tysons-based event tech company Cvent has acquired D.C.-based event and venue planning startup Social Tables for, reportedly, more than $100 million. [Washington Business Journal]
Reminder: Social Media Week Fairfax Tomorrow — Social Media Week Fairfax, featuring a number of marquee speakers including Judy Smith of Scandal fame, will be taking place tomorrow (Thursday) from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. at Capital One HQ in Tysons. A complete agenda is available here.
Update on Sept. 18 — Social Media Week Fairfax has been rescheduled for Oct. 18.
The uncertainty of Hurricane Florence’s path has led to Social Media Week Fairfax being postponed.
The event, originally scheduled for Friday (Sept. 14) in Tyson’s Capital One Auditorium, is a one-day forum on how social media and technology are influencing society. Tickets purchased for the event will be valid for whichever date the event is rescheduled for.
“Please know that this decision did not come easily, but our main concern is and will always be the safety of our attendees and speakers,” said Rachel Adler, executive director of Social Media Week Fairfax, in a statement. “We are currently looking for a new date to present the same great lineup and will be contacting you shortly.”
The hurricane — currently a Category 3 storm — is expected to make landfall Thursday night. While the projected route will have North and South Carolina taking the brunt of the impact, substantial wind and rainfall is still expected in parts of Virginia.
The storm is expected to bring 2-4 inches of rain locally with the potential for flooding over the weekend. The impact of the flooding could continue into next week as floodwaters make their way southeast across Fairfax County, according to the county government.
Tomorrow’s Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) meeting to discuss congestion solutions in McLean, meanwhile, has been cancelled. Supervisor John Foust said the meeting was cancelled partially because of the weather risk and partially to allow VDOT to focus its effort on storm-related transportation issues. The meeting will be rescheduled.
Image via NOAA