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The Twitter Adventures of Rupert Murdoch

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The New Year is a time for new challenges and resolutions, whether it be losing weight, quitting smoking, and picking up new skills. Every New Year is a fresh start and it’s never too late to embark on a new challenge.
Indeed, such is the case with 80 year-old News Corp. (NWS) chief Rupert Murdoch, who decided to embrace social media and set up a Twitter account (@rupertmurdoch) hours before the ball dropped on 2012.
The billionaire mogul is notoriously private and does not have a good relationship with social media – his ill-fated purchase of MySpace cost his company $545 million – so it is interesting that he has decided to hop onto such a public medium of communication, especially in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.
In the 40 hours and counting thus far that Murdoch’s been on Twitter, he’s posted 24 tweets, mostly from his Apple (AAPL) iPad, and he’s already landed in some controversy for a tweet criticizing Britons for taking too many holidays in such a poor economic environment. Murdoch quickly deleted the tweet, but of course, it was captured forever thanks to screencap technology.

So, one deletion and 23 tweets later, here’s what we’ve gleamed from the media mogul’s tweets:
  1. Murdoch is nothing if not a shrewd marketer, making sure to mention or praise the various products in his umbrella of companies. There’s the praise for Fox movies (“Saw Fox film Descendants. Thank God, one to be proud of. Star Geo Clooney deserves Oscar, maybe film too.” and “I LOVE the film "we bought a zoo", a great family movie. Very proud of fox team who made this great film.”), newspapers Wall Street Journal (“Great oped inWSJ today on Ron Paul. Huge appeal of libertarian message.”) and the New York Post (“Amazing! Alexander Hamilton born (illegitimate) 40 miles away. Best man never elected president. At least, founded NY Post!”) and of course, Fox News (“Got to watch Foxnews at 5 EST. Liberal Bob Beckel and team great replacement for Beck and much more fun.” - Incidentally, that was also a pointed jab at Glenn Beck)
  1. In terms of American politics, Murdoch is bipartisan. Sort of. While he acknowledges GOP presidential nominee Ron Paul’s “huge appeal of libertarian message” and endorses Rick Santorum (“Good to see santorum surging in Iowa. Regardless of policies, all debates showed principles, consistency and humility like no other.” and “Can't resist this tweet, but all Iowans think about Rick Santorum. Only candidate with genuine big vision for country.”), the octogenarian also has room to commend President Obama for signing into law indefinite detention for terror suspects (“Obama decision on terrorist detention very courageous - and dead right! @
  1. Murdoch is obviously not a stickler for copy accuracy, making numerous typos and punctuating errors – For example, looking at his tweet that read, “Great time in sea with young daughters, uboating,” we’re fairly sure that he did not spend quality family time in the depths of the Pacific inside a submarine.
  1. Murdoch’s trying to get an invite into the cool under-40 Silicon Valley tech crowd, judging from the people he follows and replies to, which include @jack (Twitter honcho Jack Dorsey); @markpinc (co-founder of Zynga (ZNGA)); @plaid_page (an account run for Google's (GOOG) Larry Page).
  1. Speaking of the tech crowd, Murdoch clearly is a big admirer of deceased Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, revealing in another tweet that he read his biography and found it overly harsh on the visionary (“Steve Jobs biog interesting but unfair. Family must hate.”)
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.