We are delighted to welcome Chris Penn to the Roundtable podcast this week, especially since I just had an incredible weekend at PodCamp Boston 3, which Chris helped to organize. Chris is the host of both the Financial Aid Podcast as well as Marketing Over Coffee. He joins us this week to discuss small businesses using social networks to band together online, the decline of print journalism (is there anything left to save?) and the tricky economics of Twitter, which received plenty of mainstream media attention this week at the same time it suffered another major malfunction.
Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses – We start out discussing this article, which featured a Ning-created social network for independent coffee shops and those in the coffee business. Chris explains the benefits of working together to share best practices, particularly for small businesses who aren’t necessarily in direct competition. Jen and I point to last week’s Roundtable discussion on whether it is easier for smaller businesses to navigate social media for marketing.
“Saving” Print Journalism – Next up, we tackle the idea of a rather ridiculous, if interesting, lawsuit in which a reader of a local paper decided to sue when he heard of the publication’s ever-shrinking news room. He knows that he’s not winning the case, but he wanted to draw attention to the issue of the decline of print journalism. We have a great discussion in which Chris insists that the business model for print is changing by necessity, and Jen and I hope that local coverage doesn’t suffer as a result.
The Economics of Twitter – Make fun of me all you like, I am well aware I talk about Twitter too much. But this week, the service was featured as a possible cure for customer service blues on the ABC Evening News and in the New York Times. We discuss whether the @comcastcares team will be overwhelmed, noting that they’ve already had to hire three more people to deal with the excess complaints. We also tackle the outage that occurred this week that caused users to lose some data (which has since been restored). We have a mini-debate about whether people should moan and groan as much as they do when the service is free, with Jen and I thinking that if you’re providing something, free or not, it should be more reliable, and Chris taking the “you get what you pay for” angle.