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TV & Radio

Nov 12, 2009

Media Watch goes behind the nudes on Twitter

Two months ago, Scott Bridges joked on Twitter that he would do a "nudie run" if Jonathan Holmes ever said "pwned" on Media Watch. Three nights ago, Holmes said it.

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Two months ago I had a throwaway, smart-arse thought as I sat on the lounge in front of Media Watch, so I tweeted it:

I will seriously do a nudie run around Brunswick if Jonathan Holmes ever says “pwned” on Media Watch.

And three nights ago Jonathan Holmes said it:

Which means that Garry Linnell and Paul Kent, and their first-rate sources, to use a word beloved of the computer-gamers, have been well and truly pwned.

That’s P-W-N-E-D. And I didn’t know the word either, until I started using Twitter. I rather like it.

In the time between my flippant tweet and Holmes’ utterance, the whole #PwnedNudieRun thing took on a life of its own, with an ever-growing group of devotees virtually gathering on Twitter each Monday night to collectively discuss Media Watch, fingers crossed that Jonathan might utter That Word.nud

While the nude climax of PwnedNudieRun was pretty bloody hilarious, and brought laughs to hundreds of people (even getting  a snarky mention in The Oz, it was the build-up that made #PwnedNudieRun special.

There are a handful of TV shows that make Twitter light up like a Christmas tree as hundreds or thousands of viewers discuss the live broadcast with Twitter friends, Twitter acquaintances and Twitter strangers. The ABC’s Q&A is one good example, and the special Hey, Hey It’s Saturday episodes threatened to melt the Twitter servers. Through #PwnedNudieRun, a community of Media Watch fans gathered each week to discuss the show as it went to air, using the hashtag #MediaWatch (along with #PwnedNudieRun, of course.)

Some of the chatter was pointless, some of the chatter was nothing more than cheap jokes, but some of the chatter was genuinely useful debate and exchange of ideas, triggered by whatever was on that night’s episode. One week, a lot of us even turned against Media Watch (don’t tell Jonathan), forming what seemed to be a majority opinion that the show was a week behind the cutting edge of debate about a particular issue.

The fact that the host of the show became aware of our silly little dare shows an admirable level of interaction with the audience on the part of Holmes and the production team. As the final episode of the year approached, Jonathan started throwing out via his own Twitter stream teasing hints that he was thinking about working That Word into his script. One of the show’s staff has told me (via Twitter, of course) that as the pre-recorded final episode went to air on Monday night the production team sat in a pub monitoring the #MediaWatch and #PwnedNudieRun hashtags on their iPhones.

While the nudie run will soon fade in our memories (not soon enough, most would say) the increased interaction between the producers and consumers of the television program will hopefully remain as serious #MediaWatch discussion continues next year. And it’s a model that any producer of news or public interest television content would do well to consider adopting so that the traditionally unidirectional nature of broadcasting begins to better mimic the bidirectional relationships of the internet and social media.

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