Last week, Dell soft launched a corporate blog, Dell One2One. It is a multi-author blog (like the one you are reading now) that focuses pretty heaviliy so far on the website and technology. A few critics have been quick out of the gate telling them everything wrong about this blog. Jeff Jarvis‘s post seems particularly snarky, but you know he must have been thrilled to have any reason to reference his troubles with Dell from last summer that he leveraged not to help other customers, but to intensify his own fame. Steve Rubel comments that maybe Dell should have stayed silent. Is that the message we want to send to corporations interested in engaging in conversation with their customers? If you aren’t going to be perfect at launch, don’t try? That’s certainly not the message I want them to hear. I would be willing to wager that Jarvis and Rubel improved iteratively and Dell will too.
Here’s the interesting part. What did Dell do with these unconstructive posts from “professional bloggers”? They linked to them. I’ll write that one more time because I find it so amazing – THEY LINKED TO THEM. This act alone indicates to me that Dell has made massive massive strides towards transparency and at least wants to join the conversation. As a former Dell marketer, I can tell you that a quarter ago, Dell had a policy against blogging and now they are not just facilitating a blog, but linking to critics. That is not a baby step, but real progress. Could the Dell blog be improved by fleshing out the personality of the authors, discussing the business overall, and directly talking about what they have done to address some of the issues that have plagued them? Sure. Is the tone a little nerdy because of the technical info? Yes, but its authentically Dell and isn’t that the point of this whole blogging thing? The blog even has a “suggestion box” for folks like me to send these comment directly to them.
To Dell and any other F50 thinking of getting in this game: Jump on in, the water is fine. The blogosphere is still young, we are learning as we go and you can too.
To bloggers riding the “I hate Dell” wave: Wont life be more interesting if they join the conversation? Not every blogger comes out of the womb perfect like you.
To everyone criticizing Dell One2One because Michael isn’t writing: As a stockholder, I don’t want him agonizing over his next post – I want him travelling the world engaging with the best business minds trying to figure out how to get Dell shares out of the $20’s.
And, while I’m at it To Speakers at Conferences thinking about Referencing “Dell Hell”: Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past year has heard the story. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. It makes you look dated. Unless you have a financial tie to Jeff Jarvis, look for another example if you want to look current.