Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Jonathan Holmes said "pwned" (pron 'powned' as in 'Edgar Allan Poe') last night on Media Watch. It was a great moment in the history of convergence, a moment celebrating the point at which the audience comes to participate in the media process.

'Pwned' is a word many will be unfamiliar with. It comes from video gaming, and seems to have begun as a spelling mistake included by a software coder in a game's code. The word that was meant to go in was 'owned' (as in 'totally owned' or possessed, beaten, made subject). So gamers playing would see "pwned" resulting from a completed stage, in the event of victory.

That's my understanding, anyway.

Holmes' final program for 2009 finished with the utterance of this word, which pops up frequently in Twitter hashtag streams, where people dicsuss the program as it screens. I used to participate in the stream, but I find it a bit exhausting and distracting to do two things at once. So I stopped.

I did get the gist. The word "pwned" was also accompanied, frequently, by another hashtag, "pwnednudierun". It seems that the idea is that, if Holmes uses the word on-screen, participants in the hashtag stream promise to go into the street naked and run around the block.

So when Holmes used the word last night, that's exactly what happened. Here's an example: Scott Bridges on Groupthink. More pics at link.

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