Here’s a recap of the key small business news stories for this week.
All eyes were on Boston, as a tragic bombing took place near the finish line of the famed Boston Marathon on Monday. Social media, particularly Twitter, took center stage as a communication channel. The value of social media showed up again later in the week, during the dramatic shootout that led to the death of one police officer and one suspect.
However, the negative side of social media was also seen. Rape allegations surrounding TechCrunch founder, Michael Arrington, ended up being tried in the court of social media – and it got ugly.
Below the Small Business Trends Editorial Team puts your small business news for the week into perspective:
- Social media helped communicate after Boston Marathon bombing. Twitter broke the story of the bombing, and loved ones checked in at Facebook. Google set up a Person Finder. Bloggers Laura Petrolino and Stephanie Graves posted about the responsibilities that people should observe with these tools when tragedy strikes.
- Social media again broke the story of the Boston suspect shootout. As the dramatic events unfolded late Thursday evening into Friday morning, social media got the jump on the news media. They brought the world minute-by-minute updates, including videos and photographs.
- Arrington rape allegations highlight social media’s dark side. There are plenty of stories about the power of social media to build brands and reputations. But the ongoing drama surrounding rape and assault allegations against TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington showed how reputations can be harmed. It also showed the dangers of jumping to conclusions without all the facts. The allegations were being tried publicly across Facebook, Twitter and blogs — when they really belong in the legal system.
- Flipboard app turns social media feeds into “magazines.” Users of the new edition of the app created more than half-a-million of these “magazines” in the first two weeks since its release. Flipboard 2.0 is only available for Apple devices right now, but an Android edition is on the way.
- E-book sales are growing. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a big publisher or an independent. Data from the Association of American Publishers found 23 percent of revenue from book sales came from e-books in 2012. That’s up from 17 percent in 2011. Small publishers take heed. Fewer of your future titles will be sold on paper.
- You can now get YouTube live streaming on iPhones. The new iOS app for YouTube means you can stream video, and your customers and audience can view it on the iPhone. Some other new features for iPhone users are also available in the app.
- Small business owners would prefer less government interference. Here’s what the numbers say. One study found nine out of 10 business would prefer less assistance and more predictability from Washington. Another found 70 percent of owners surveyed think federal taxes are harmful. Eighty percent believe regulations are too.
- National Small Business Week is coming. The annual event hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration will be held June 17-21, 2013. Events will take place in several cities, not just Washington.
- CISPA makes its way through the legislature. UPDATE: CISPA was passed in the U.S. House on April 18. It must now be voted on in the U.S. Senate. It will then go to the to the President for signature. Supporters of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act insist the controversial legislation is vital to protect companies from cyber attack. But small businesses and privacy advocates are worried their private information could be shared with the government.
- A report by the National Small Business Association highlights tax challenges. The report says half the business owners polled take up to 80 hours to complete their taxes. Another third said they spend up to 72 hours just organizing payroll tax information.
- Google Affiliate Network to shut down, surprising some. But others point out that Google doesn’t really need a third party network because it offers advertisers so many new options in its search results. BizSugar member Ivan Widjaya explains why he will miss the Google Network and his search for alternatives.
- Great resources for affiliate marketing managers. If your business offers an affiliate program to help drive online sales – or if you are thinking about it – be sure to catch our coverage of the Affiliate Management Days conference. You’ll find the very latest in thinking from top affiliate marketing experts.
Hiring and Financing
- Summer hiring is heating up. If you are hiring for the summer months, you may find things a bit more competitive. A poll of 1000 hiring managers nationwide found 19 percent plan to hire more employees this summer, up nine percent from last year. Wages will also be going up, so be prepared.
- Franchise loans are increasing, but more is needed. Franchisees will have an estimated $23.9 billion in loans available to them in 2013. That’s the highest amount of financing the industry has had since 2009. But it’s still short of the $26.5 billion in loans franchises will need to keep operating or start new operations this year.
Bostonbombing image credit: ABC news coverage