The flaming battery story: People powered

Steve Hamm at Business Week has a good chronicle of the blog pressure that led to Dell, Apple, and Sony’s recall of their batteries.

The cybermedia didn’t merely expose the dangers of computers catching fire. They kept the heat on the manufacturers to do something about it and helped the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) conduct an investigation into the burning batteries.

Note well that the now-blogwise Dell thanked bloggers:

Dell credits the blogosphere for helping it get through the crisis. “Information travels around quickly,” says spokeswoman Gretchen Miller. “Also, it’s another channel to get the message to our customers so they can be safe.”

This, too, is networked journalism: customers able to gather together as an effective watchdog.