Recently Dell launched a blog where their “intention is to address issues that are important to use and our customers”, and at present I feel that can only be a good thing, so long as Dell are committed to listening and acting on what they’ve already stated.

So far, the Dell blog has come under fire from several well known bloggers, but I think that surely we should be looking at this in a wider context instead of applying some broad blogosphere rules that don’t necessarily apply all the time and to everyone.

I’m really happy that Dell has taken this step, as it paves the way for other corporates to do the same, albeit with the benefit of Dell’s hindsight. It also proves a point I made to colleagues about two years ago.

When you look at blogging in a corporate context, it’s about communicating with your stakeholders, whether they be customers, employees, shareholders, partners or contractors – it’s a central place where you can start a conversation about something – and so Dell taking this step in what would be considered a late adopter (or at least pragmatic) move in internet time is exactly what blogging needs, and we’ve all been waiting for. Let the conversations begin…

Whether they do it right or not is up to them and remains to be seen, but the point is that Dell has made it ok to blog. My humble prediction is that this will pave the way for other corporates to do the same in the near future.

After the hype of the launch, the people that really care about the blog (the stakeholders) will continue to read it (I doubt Robert Scoble will watch the Dell blog with as much interest for long), so that will be the true test of whether the initiative pays off in the long term. Dell’s sheer size means that there will always be new traffic, but what it really needs is repeat visitation from people who are genuinely interested, in order for them to have a valuable feedback mechanism.

So, if Dell is really are listening and more importantly doing, then it should be alright in the longer term – and in two years time our comments today won’t mean much.