In just a few days, News Corporation chairman and new Twitter user Rupert Murdoch has collected nearly 100,000 followers, a fake account for his young wife, countless media pundit reactions, and even some goodwill. The 80-year-old CEO (or whoever is authoring the verified account) tweets from an iPad, the same device that hosts his newest newspaper, and although he follows just seven people, they include future-oriented tech stars like Twitter's own Jack Dorsey and Zynga's Mark Pincus. At the same time, Murdoch's frequent typos and family anecdotes make him seem more like a cuddly old man than a ruthless media mogul. It's a good mix, helping to humanize the scandal-plagued boss. There's no way it can last.
As we've seen with early, famous adopters like Alec Baldwin and Ashton Kutcher, Twitter can be dangerous, getting stars drunk on attention and firsthand contact with fans and observers until they inevitably go too far and divulge too much. There's a reason that CEOs tend to eschew social networks altogether or stick to carefully scripted PR-speak. So far, Murdoch has plugged his companies some, but he's also espoused political opinions, accompanying his tweets with an unflattering self-portrait, extra chins and all, as seen above. The avatar has since been changed to a more respectable picture and, now that the work week is rolling, Murdoch hasn't tweeted in nearly a day, both of which go to show that the holiday weekend fun is probably going to be short-lived. If it's not all over already, here are a few ways it could end:
The Offensive Tweet: Murdoch has already had one misstep, writing over the weekend, "Maybe Brits have too many holidays for broke country!" He quickly deleted the message, but not before his hypocrisy was apparent: Murdoch had just written about being in St. Barth's and boating. "I'm getting killed for fooling around here and friends frightened what I may really say!" he wrote. Think of all the ugly things your 80-year-old relative says at the dinner table and then imagine giving them an iPad and 100,000 hostile followers.
He Gets Bored: This is a man who owns all of this. Even at his age, he's probably quite busy, and silliness in 140 characters can only hold his attention for so long. Worse than closing up Twitter shop, Murdoch could pass the account off to a professional, depriving the public of sloppy gems like, "Have just. Read The Rational Optimist. Great book."
He Gets Hacked: News Corp. has earned much of the world's ire by hacking people's phones, making the company vulnerable to revenge attacks from online mischief-makers like Anonymous and Lulzsec. Surely someone is already trying to crack ol' Rupe's password. We'd start with "WendiForever" and "muchricherthanu."
News Corp. Buys Twitter: Maybe this is all a test run for a full-blown takeover. If Murdoch moves on the social network, it'll likely be driven into the ground in no time and Murdoch, along with everyone else's accounts, will be abandoned. Remember MySpace?
The Accidental Crotch Shot: We've seen it happen before, but have never wanted to see it less.