Karen, Michael and Manish at the Command Center Opening Today, as some of you may have already seen on Mashable, we officially opened the doors to our Social Media Listening Command Center. In my view, it represents the next broad step in the our efforts to stay connected to our customers around the globe.

The Listening Command Center is a place where we monitor more than 22,000 Dell-related topic posts on average—and that's a number that will probably continue to grow. Average daily mentions of Dell on Twitter alone have a greater reach than the combined circulation of the top 12 daily newspapers in the United States.

It's no secret that more customers around the world are using social media to stay in touch with friends and family. And many of those same customers are either voicing their opinions about brands they like (or dislike). Several years ago, social networks and related tools were used by early adopters who tended to be focused on technology. Today, the use of social media tools has accelerated. My parents are now both on Facebook... and Mom even sends me chat requests from time to time.

Finding those conversations and getting them to the right teams is something that we've been actively working on. The Command Center really represents the next phase of those efforts. In preparing for this, we've been expanding our Social Outreach Services team globally. Many members from that team (which also supports customers via @DellCares on Twitter and elsewhere around the web) reside right next to the Command Center in our offices here in Round Rock, Texas. On a related note, congrats to that team for recently surpassing 5,000 followers. If you're on Twitter and need help with a Dell customer service issue, @DellCares is the quickest way to get help.

Radian6 continues to be a huge partner in our global listening efforts, and we worked extensively with them to make the Listening Command Center a reality. With their help, we're currently able monitor the web in 11 languages. The Radian6 tools give us a ton of flexibility to aggregate what our customers are saying around the web. The Command Center team uses this flexibility to analyze real-time data in a number of different ways so they can share it with appropriate teams within Dell. Over 5,000 Dell employees have been trained in social media, and many of those are listening and engaging with customers as part of their jobs.

Social Media Listening Command Center

No question to me one of the clear highlights of my 16 years here has been to be involved in Dell's social media efforts since the early days in April 2006. Since then, we've received a lot of accolades for our use of social media across the company. I've been a huge advocate for social media within the company because it was clear early on that it offered a way to connect with our customers on issues that are important to them. 

Our CMO Karen Quintos and Michael Dell himself were here today for the launch of the Social Media Command Center. Here's an overview of what happened yesterday: