This isn’t surprising, but Elon Musk doesn’t see being extremely online as a downside.
OK, I have 127 million followers and I keep growing very fast.
“Check out my Twitter account,” he said during the Tesla earnings call on Wednesday evening. “Okay, I have 127 million followers and continue to grow very fast.”
Look at that scoreboard.
“That means I’m pretty popular,” Musk said. “It may not be popular with some people. But for the vast majority of people, the accounts they follow speak for themselves.”
It’s a strange statement by someone. literally His tweets have been put on trial for causing measurable disruption to himself, his investors and the company. Musk is facing potentially billions of dollars in damages from a group of Tesla investors who claim that Musk’s tweets misled him and that relying on his statements to close deals would cost him a fortune.
“I am quite popular”
That 2018 tweet has already cost Tesla $40 million, including $20 million from Tesla and $20 million personally, to settle a securities fraud lawsuit with the SEC. Twitter is free for most people to use, but in Elon Musk’s case, the cost was disproportionately high.
During the earnings call, Musk referred to Twitter as an “incredibly powerful tool” to drive demand for Tesla vehicles (the company introduced massive price cuts to explain the decline in demand) and other auto CEOs to boost sales. To do so, you must tweet like that. (Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess attempted to do exactly that, but he was unemployed a year later.)
It’s no exaggeration to say that Musk’s use of Twitter has been a disaster. As he took over a social media company, his net worth dwindled and he sat in a pile of debt. More and more Tesla owners have embraced his earlier arguments for a more sustainable future. His investors are begging him to stop tweeting, but of course Elon Musk will never stop.
Twitter, as it is often called, is not real life. But for Musk, it’s more than that.