The biggest news in tech this week is that Yahoo! finally appointed a replacement for their known-to-swear-a-lot and former top-dog, Carol Bartz. They’ve appointed little-known Scott Thompson from PayPal.
But the much more fun/entertaining/frightening tech news is Rupert Murdoch joined Twitter. Really joined. No spoof account (that was his wife’s). No digital sidekick thumbing his tweets. No pseudonyms, social media gurus or ghost writers, just 100% unfettered, real-time access to our Rupes.
Love him or loath him (okay, I can probably guess which), this had to make the news wires. He started up on New Year’s eve and quickly courted controversy with (now deleted) quips like, “Maybe Brits have too many holidays for broke country!”
John Prescott must’ve found a dose of irony in a belated Christmas cracker and tweeted, “Welcome to Twitter…@rupertmurdoch. I’ve left you a Happy New Year message on my voicemail!”
It’s oh so easy to mock from the sidelines. Social media invented the term snark – and then used it in abundance. But this has got the hallmarks of a Charlie Sheenesque car crash all over it.
He’s obviously got every right to join the Twitterati but what’s his motivation here? I’ll show them all I’m not an evil bugger? I’ll prove to the world I’ve still got all my marbles? He’s not exactly in need of headlines, or a wider network.
Some are indicating he’s promoting his own products by saying “Great oped inWSJ today,” and “Very proud of fox team who made this great film,” and “Got to watch Foxnews at 5 EST.” Sure they’re all in his portfolio but his marketing teams would have to be pretty desperate to script that!
No, I think his top execs will all be frantically dreaming up ‘seriously pressing business emergencies’ that need his urgent and full attention. And his PR and comms teams will be praying Twitter falls over every 20 minutes like it used to in the early days.
In their shoes, I’d be tempted to sneak one of those Hollywood-style, CIA speced wi-fi blockers into his briefcase… or break his thumbs.
Given his opening salvo, it’s more than difficult to see this going well. I think it’ll end in either:
a) a fizzle, as Mr M gets bored of trying to be fab in 140 characters and lets the account doze off, or
b) in the furore of a NoTW closure but without the job losses.