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BITTER TWITTER

This powerful man can’t stop tweeting

A hand with a phone in front of Twitter's logo
Reuters/Dado Ruvic
The medium is the message.
This article is more than 2 years old.

Some of his business ventures have been more successful than others, but enough of them came good to make him very rich. And yet, even as his power grows, he becomes more prickly by the day. He sees conspiracies around every corner, with shadowy figures amassing to take him down. The media, in particular, treats him incredibly unfairly, he thinks. So much fake news.

But no matter, because he can forgo official channels and speak directly to his millions of followers on Twitter. Uncensored and unvarnished, he revels in lashing out at naysayers and firing up his loyal base of supporters. From petty squabbles to market-moving bombshells, his seemingly off-the-cuff tweets keep everyone guessing. Markets may be roiled from time to time, but he’s made many Americans rich by breaking the rules and upending convention. Why doesn’t the media write about that?

In the beginning, it seemed like he could be playing three-dimensional chess, five moves ahead of the rest of us. But the evidence is mounting that he might not have a plan after all. Maybe the tweets are simply as compulsive and self-destructive as they seem.

You can only make so many broken promises before you do permanent damage to your reputation and, perhaps more importantly, exhaust the goodwill necessary to implement your plans. Ill-advised interventions in far-flung events distract from pressing management tasks at home. Punching down at perceived enemies with less power, which inspires supporters to do the same, is not a good look. Launching compulsive, outlandish proposals via tweet, with minimal input from key advisors, is beginning to backfire. His detractors are no longer in his imagination and investigators are circling. It would probably be better to stop tweeting, but he can’t seem to break the habit.

It’s been another eventful week for Elon Musk.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

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