A Decade of Elon Musk's Tweets, Visualized
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A Decade of Elon Musk’s Tweets, Visualized

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A Decade of Elon Musk's Tweets, Visualized

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An Analysis of Elon Musk’s Entire Twitter Feed

Elon Musk is known for many things, but one of his most buzzworthy claims to fame is his online Twitter presence.

Because of its candid nature, Musk’s Twitter feed provides the public with a unique opportunity to catch an unfiltered look into his eccentric mind.

What can we learn from an in-depth look at Elon Musk’s Twitter feed? What subjects does he focus on the most, and how has his Twitter use changed over the past decade?

We sifted through his entire tweet history to find out.

Why Bother?

To gain a high-level understanding of Musk’s Twitter profile, our research team sifted through his entire Twitter feed and compiled 15,000 of his tweets into a comprehensive dataset.

Why go to all the effort? Here are a few reasons why we spent months sifting through Elon Musk’s Twitter feed:

  • People care about what he has to say: Musk has over 77 million followers on Twitter, and his account is currently the 11th most followed (coming in between Ellen DeGeneres and Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India). Even run-of-the-mill replies to regular Twitter users receive thousands of shares, likes, and comments. Clearly, people are interested in his ideas and interactions.
  • Musk tweets often, and candidly: These days, it’s not uncommon for Musk to share more than 30 tweets in a single day. And his Twitter conversations cover a wide range of topics, from serious conversations about technical aspects of his products to lighthearted memes. This is highly unusual for a person in his position.
  • Some of his tweets have had a big impact: Elon’s tweets consistently make headlines and ruffle the feathers of big shots in business and politics. Elon’s Twitter fingers have moved the needle on everything from Tesla’s stock price to cryptocurrency markets.
  • He’s become a public icon: He’s currently the richest person in the world, and last year, he was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. The companies that Musk runs are also hugely influential and disruptive. In other words, no matter how you feel about him personally, he’s a pretty big deal.

Because of the above, we thought digging into the depths of Elon Musk’s Twitter feed was a worthy pursuit. Below, we’ll get into our methodology, and how we went about analyzing the mountains of tweets.

How We Did It: Notes on Our Methodology

Once we scraped a decade worth of Elon Musk tweets, we dug through the data and sorted the information to answer two main questions:

  1. What are Elon Musk’s most tweeted topics?
  2. How has his Twitter activity changed over the years?

To answer the first question, we sorted Elon’s tweets into categories (based on keywords) and ranked each category based on the volume of mentions.

The results are visualized in the circle chart in the middle of the graphic, which shows Musk’s most tweeted subjects over the last decade.

To answer our second question (how has Elon’s Twitter activity changed over the years) we sorted Elon’s feed into three main topics—Tesla, SpaceX, and everything else—and showed which topics dominated his feed each year.

Main Takeaways from the Analysis

Perhaps unsurprisingly, we found that the two main things Elon talks about the most are Tesla and SpaceX. He’s mentioned both companies consistently over the last decade, and as the timeline shows, Tesla and SpaceX take turns in the spotlight, depending on what’s going on for the companies at the time.

While the topics and themes of his content have remained fairly consistent, the frequency of tweets has grown over the years.

YearNumber of tweetsBusiest month on Twitter
201142December (42)
2012270May (36)
2013422May (118)
2014189April (36)
2015617October (132)
2016736July (126)
20171,162December (197)
20182,288May (384)
20192,933April (373)
20203,367July (446)
20213,113July (402)

Musk now uses Twitter very consistently, tweeting at least once on all but 14 days in 2021. His follower count has growth steadily over the years too:

elon musk twitter follower growth

As the above graphic shows, his follower growth started to escalate between late 2017 and mid-2018 as Musk began to burst into the public consciousness. Why? A lot was happening both personally and professionally for the busy founder:

    • December 2017: Announcement on Twitter that the Boring Company was planning to release a limited edition flamethrower. 20,000 units were sold before the product was discontinued.
    • February 2018: Tesla Roadster was launched into space.
    • July 2018: 12 boys and their teacher get trapped in a cave in Thailand, and Elon gets heavily involved in efforts to try and rescue them. This includes an awkward—now deleted—tweet referring to a British cave diver as a pedophile. (Musk later won a defamation case in 2019.)
    • August 2018: Elon announces on Twitter that he’s considering taking Tesla private at $420 a share. Tesla’s share price promptly dropped after this now infamous tweet was sent.
    • Sept 2018: Musk appears on Joe Rogan’s podcast, and smokes weed with him. The spectacle grabs headlines after the podcast is published.
    • From 2016 to 2018: A highly publicized, on-again-off-again relationship with actress Amber Heard.

No matter how outlandish or shocking his comments have been, Musk’s companies continue to see success, and people have continued to show interest in keeping up with the founder’s thoughts—and dank memes—on Twitter.

Highlights (and Lowlights) of Musk’s Twitter History

In the next section below, we’ll cover some of Elon’s most iconic Twitter moments, hand-selected by our research team.

The End of the Fake Elon Era

Elon Musk’s first real tweet was shared in 2010. Prior to that, someone was pretending to be him and using the Twitter handle @elonmusk to tweet random and controversial things.

Luckily, the imposter didn’t gain much traction, and the real Elon Musk cleared the air on June 4, 2010, with a tweet announcing his authentic arrival onto the platform:

After this initial tweet, Musk didn’t tweet again until the end of 2011, though his account was still verified that year. His Twitter activity remained relatively low until 2012.

A Splashdown to Remember

In May 2012, Musk went to Twitter to share his excitement after the Dragon spacecraft successfully returned home.

This landing made history, as SpaceX became the first commercial spacecraft to deliver cargo to the International Space Station.

The engagement on this tweet highlights how much larger Musk’s audience is today. The tweet above, which is highlighting some very exciting news, only has about 350 retweets.

The Boring Company Flamethrower

In late 2017, Musk started selling Boring Company merchandise, mostly as a joke. But products were selling, and Elon decided to take things one step further, and announced to Twitter that he’d release a Boring Company flamethrower if 50,000 Boring branded hats sold:

The hats did sell out, so true to his word, Musk released a limited edition flamethrower at $500 bucks apiece. All 20,000 units sold out.

The $20 Million Quip

In August 2018, Musk told Twitter that he was considering taking Tesla private, at $420 a share.

This tweet was a cheeky reference to marijuana, but it ended up costing a fortune. The SEC sued him with fraudulent charges, claiming this irresponsible tweet misled investors.

He ended up paying millions in fines, and had to step down as Tesla’s chairman as a result of the drama.

Candid COVID Opinions

Musk hasn’t been shy about sharing his thoughts on the global pandemic. On March 6, 2020, he tweeted “the coronavirus panic is dumb.” Since then, he’s been vocal about his distrust in antigen tests, and isn’t afraid to share his frustrations around lockdowns with his followers:

He’s also said that the virus isn’t that deadly and that COVID-19 related deaths were inflated because doctors were wrongfully attributing deaths to the virus instead of other causes.

Becoming the World’s Richest Human

In 2021, Musk surpassed Jeff Bezos to become the richest person in the world. His reaction was quite understated. In response to a tweet from @teslaownersSV sharing the news, he simply said, “how strange.”

From there, he tweeted:

Musk is still currently the richest person on the planet as of this article’s publication date, with a net worth of $213 billion.

Bitcoin Boost

Elon Musk’s foray into Bitcoin boosterism ramped up on January 29, 2021, when he added “#bitcoin” to his Twitter profile page, a move that appeared to have an impact on the price of BTC.

Days later, Musk announced that Tesla acquired $1.5 billion in bitcoin, with plans to accept it as payment.

The news caused the price of Bitcoin to jump 17% to $44,000, a record high at the time. Bitcoin remained in the spotlight through the year as the cryptocurrency continued to gather support from major financial institutions.

Just days prior, Musk also added fuel to the speculative fire surrounding the GameStop stock. By simply tweeting the word “Gamestonk” paired with a link to Reddit’s infamous r/wallstreetbets, GME’s price exploded more than 150% higher.

The Multi-Billion Dollar Question

After facing backlash over his significant stockpile of wealth, Musk turned to Twitter to ask users if he should sell 10% of his Tesla stock in order to pay taxes.

The majority of Twitter users voted yes, and the billionaire actually followed through and sold more than $16 billion worth of Tesla stock.

Reconnecting Ukraine

In late February, as Russia launched its offensive in Ukraine, Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation called the SpaceX founder out on Twitter, asking for support.

Musk would reply within 24 hours, and soon after, Fedorov would tweet a photo of Starlink terminals arriving safely in the country.

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Misc

Visualized: The Most Googled Countries

This series of visualizations uses Google trends search data to show the most googled countries around the world, from 2004 to 2022.

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Visualized: The Most Googled Countries, Worldwide

View a higher resolution version of this network diagram.

Analyzing societal trends can teach us a lot about a population’s cultural fabric.

And since Google makes up more than 90% of internet searches outside of the Great Firewall, studying its usage is one of the best resources for modern social research.

This series of visualizations by Anders Sundell uses Google Trends search data to show the most googled countries around the world, from 2004 to 2022. These graphics provide thought-provoking insight into different cultural similarities and geopolitical dynamics.

A Quick Note on Methodology

The visualization above shows the most googled country in each nation around the world over the last couple of decades.

For example, the arrow pointing from Canada to the United States means that, between 2004 and 2022, people in Canada had more searches about the U.S. than any other country globally.

And since this study only looked at interest in other countries, queries of countries searching for themselves were not included in the data.

Finally, each country’s circle is scaled relative to its search interest, meaning the bigger the circle, the more countries pointing to it (and searching for it).

The Top Googled Countries Overall

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the U.S. is the most googled country on the list, ranking first place in 45 of the 190 countries included in the dataset.

CountryTop Googled Country
🇦🇩​ Andorra🇪🇸​ Spain
🇦🇪​ The United Arab Emirates 🇮🇳 India
🇦🇫​ Afghanistan🇮🇷 Iran
🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda🇺🇸 The United States
🇦🇱 Albania🇮🇹 Italy
🇦🇲 Armenia🇷🇺 Russia
🇦🇴 Angola🇧🇷 Brazil
🇦🇷 Argentina🇪🇸​ Spain
🇦🇹 Austria🇩🇪 Germany
🇦🇺 Australia🇺🇸 The United States
🇦🇿 Azerbaijan🇹🇷 Turkey
🏴󠁢󠁡󠁢󠁩󠁨󠁿 Bosnia and Herzegovina🇷🇴 Romania
🇧🇧 Barbados🇬🇧 United Kingdom
🇧🇩 Bangladesh🇮🇳 India
🇧🇪 Belgium🇫🇷 France
🇧🇫 Burkina Faso🇫🇷 France
🇧🇬 Bulgaria🇷🇺 Russia
🇧🇭 Bahrain🇮🇳 India
🇧🇮 Burundi🇫🇷 France
🇧🇯 Benin🇫🇷 France
🇧🇳 Brunei🇲🇾 Malaysia
🇧🇴 Bolivia🇦🇷 Argentina
🇧🇷 Brazil🇺🇸 The United States
🇧🇸 The Bahamas 🇺🇸 The United States
🇧🇹 Bhutan🇮🇳 India
🇧🇼 Botswana🇿🇦 South Africa
🇧🇾 Belarus🇷🇺 Russia
🇧🇿 Belize🇺🇸 The United States
🇨🇦 Canada🇺🇸 The United States
🇨🇩 The Democratic Republic of Congo🇫🇷 France
🇨🇫 The Central African Republic🇫🇷 France
🇨🇬 The Congo🇨🇩 The Democratic Republic of Congo
🇨🇭 Switzerland🇩🇪 Germany
🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire🇫🇷 France
🇨🇱 Chile🇦🇷 Argentina
🇨🇲 Cameroon🇫🇷 France
🇨🇳 China🇺🇸 The United States
🇨🇴 Colombia🇺🇸 The United States
🇨🇷 Costa Rica 🇺🇸 The United States
🇨🇺 Cuba🇪🇸​ Spain
🇨🇻 Cabo Verde🇺🇸 The United States
🇨🇾 Cyprus🇬🇧 United Kingdom
🇨🇿 Czechia🇩🇪 Germany
🇩🇪 Germany🇺🇸 The United States
🇩🇯 Djibouti🇫🇷 France
🇩🇰 Denmark🇩🇪 Germany
🇩🇲 Dominica🇺🇸 The United States
🇩🇴 The Dominican Republic🇺🇸 The United States
🇩🇿 Algeria🇫🇷 France
🇪🇨 Ecuador🇺🇸 The United States
🇪🇪 Estonia🇷🇺 Russia
🇪🇬 Egypt🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia
🇪🇷 Eritrea🇪🇹 Ethiopia
🇪🇸 Spain🇺🇸 The United States
🇪🇹 Ethiopia🇺🇸 The United States
🇫🇮 Finland🇸🇪 Sweden
🇫🇯 Fiji🇦🇺 Australia
🇫🇲 Micronesia🇺🇸 The United States
🇫🇷 France🇺🇸 The United States
🇬🇦 Gabon🇫🇷 France
🇬🇧 United Kingdom🇺🇸 The United States
🇬🇩 Grenada🇺🇸 The United States
🇬🇪 Georgia🇷🇺 Russia
🇬🇭 Ghana🇺🇸 The United States
🇬🇲 Gambia🇬🇧 United Kingdom
🇬🇳 Guinea🇫🇷 France
🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea🇪🇸​ Spain
🇬🇷 Greece🇬🇧 United Kingdom
🇬🇹 Guatemala🇸🇻 El Salvador
🇬🇼 Guinea-Bissau🇵🇹 Portugal
🇬🇾 Guyana🇮🇳 India
🇭🇳 Honduras🇺🇸 The United States
🇭🇷 Croatia🇩🇪 Germany
🇭🇹 Haiti 🇺🇸 The United States
🇭🇺 Hungary🇺🇸 The United States
🇮🇩 Indonesia🇯🇵 Japan
🇮🇪 Ireland🇬🇧 United Kingdom
🇮🇱 Israel🇺🇸 The United States
🇮🇳 India🇺🇸 The United States
🇮🇶 Iraq🇹🇷 Turkey
🇮🇷 Iran 🇹🇷 Turkey
🇮🇸 Iceland🇬🇧 United Kingdom
🇮🇹 Italy🇺🇸 The United States
🇯🇲 Jamaica🇺🇸 The United States
🇯🇴 Jordan🇪🇬 Egypt
🇯🇵 Japan🇺🇸 The United States
🇰🇪 Kenya🇺🇸 The United States
🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan🇷🇺 Russia
🇰🇭 Cambodia🇹🇭 Thailand
🇰🇮 Kiribati🇫🇯 Fiji
🇰🇲 Comoros🇫🇷 France
🇰🇳 Saint Kitts and Nevis🇺🇸 The United States
🇰🇵 North Korea🇺🇸 The United States
🇰🇷 South Korea🇯🇵 Japan
🇰🇼 Kuwait🇮🇳 India
🇰🇿 Kazakhstan🇷🇺 Russia
🇱🇦 Laos🇹🇭 Thailand
🇱🇧 Lebanon🇸🇾 Syria
🇱🇨 Saint Lucia🇬🇧 United Kingdom
🇱🇮 Liechtenstein🇨🇭 Switzerland
🇱🇰 Sri Lanka🇮🇳 India
🇱🇷 Liberia🇺🇸 The United States
🇱🇸 Lesotho🇿🇦 South Africa
🇱🇹 Lithuania🇷🇺 Russia
🇱🇺 Luxembourg🇫🇷 France
🇱🇻 Latvia🇷🇺 Russia
🇱🇾 Libya🇪🇬 Egypt
🇲🇦 Morocco🇫🇷 France
🇲🇨 Monaco🇫🇷 France
🇲🇩 Moldova 🇷🇺 Russia
🇲🇪 Montenegro🇷🇸 Serbia
🇲🇬​ Madagascar🇫🇷 France
🇲🇰 Republic of North Macedonia🇷🇸 Serbia
🇲🇱 Mali🇫🇷 France
🇲🇲 Myanmar🇯🇵 Japan
🇲🇳 Mongolia🇯🇵 Japan
🇲🇷 Mauritania🇫🇷 France
🇲🇹 Malta🇬🇧 United Kingdom
🇲🇺 Mauritius🇮🇳 India
🇲🇻 Maldives🇮🇳 India
🇲🇼 Malawi🇿🇦 South Africa
🇲🇽 Mexico🇺🇸 The United States
🇲🇾 Malaysia🇯🇵 Japan
🇲🇿 Mozambique🇧🇷 Brazil
🇳🇪 The Niger🇫🇷 France
🇳🇬 Nigeria🇺🇸 The United States
🇳🇮 Nicaragua🇺🇸 The United States
🇳🇱 The Netherlands🇩🇪 Germany
🇳🇴 Norway🇸🇪 Sweden
🇳🇵 Nepal🇮🇳 India
🇳🇿 New Zealand🇦🇺 Australia
🇴🇲 Oman🇮🇳 India
🇵🇦 Panama🇺🇸 The United States
🇵🇪 Peru🇪🇸​ Spain
🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea🇦🇺 Australia
🇵🇭 The Philippines🇯🇵 Japan
🇵🇰 Pakistan🇮🇳 India
🇵🇱 Poland🇩🇪 Germany
🇵🇸 Palestine🇮🇱 Israel
🇵🇹 Portugal🇧🇷 Brazil
🇵🇾 Paraguay🇦🇷 Argentina
🇶🇦 Qatar🇮🇳 India
🇷🇴 Romania🇮🇹 Italy
🇷🇸 Serbia🇽🇰 Kosovo
🇷🇺 Russia🇺🇸 The United States
🇷🇼 Rwanda🇺🇬 Uganda
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia🇪🇬 Egypt
🇸🇧 Solomon Islands🇦🇺 Australia
🇸🇨 Seychelles🇮🇳 India
🇸🇩 Sudan 🇪🇬 Egypt
🇸🇪 Sweden🇺🇸 The United States
🇸🇬 Singapore🇯🇵 Japan
🇸🇮 Slovenia🇭🇷 Croatia
🇸🇰 Slovakia🇨🇿 Czechia
🇸🇱 Sierra Leone🇬🇳 Guinea
🇸🇲 San Marino 🇮🇹 Italy
🇸🇳 Senegal🇫🇷 France
🇸🇴 Somalia🇮🇳 India
🇸🇷 Suriname🇳🇱 The Netherlands
🇸🇸 South Sudan🇺🇸 The United States
🇸🇹 Sao Tome and Principe🇵🇹 Portugal
🇸🇻 El Salvador🇺🇸 The United States
🇸🇾 Syria🇱🇧 Lebanon
🇸🇿 Eswatini🇿🇦 South Africa
🇹🇩 Chad🇺🇸 The United States
🇹🇬 Togo🇫🇷 France
🇹🇭 Thailand🇯🇵 Japan
🇹🇯 Tajikistan🇷🇺 Russia
🇹🇱 Timor-Leste🇸🇬 Singapore
🇹🇲 Turkmenistan🇷🇺 Russia
🇹🇳 Tunisia🇫🇷 France
🇹🇴 Tonga🇳🇿 New Zealand
🇹🇷 Turkey🇺🇸 The United States
🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago🇺🇸 The United States
🇹🇼 Taiwan🇯🇵 Japan
🇹🇿 Tanzania🇰🇪 Kenya
🇺🇦 Ukraine🇷🇺 Russia
🇺🇬 Uganda🇺🇸 The United States
🇺🇸 The United States🇲🇽 Mexico
🇺🇾 Uruguay🇦🇷 Argentina
🇺🇿 Uzbekistan🇷🇺 Russia
🇻🇨 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines🇧🇧 Barbados
🇻🇪 Venezuela 🇨🇴 Colombia
🇻🇳 Vietnam🇯🇵 Japan
🇻🇺 Vanuatu🇦🇺 Australia
🇽🇰 Kosovo🇦🇱 Albania
🇾🇪 Yemen🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia
🇿🇦 South Africa🇬🇧 United Kingdom
🇿🇲 Zambia🇿🇦 South Africa
🇿🇼 Zimbabwe🇿🇦 South Africa

While it’s the top googled country in neighboring places like Canada and Mexico, it’s also number one in countries much farther away like Nigeria, Sweden, and Australia.

The U.S. is currently the world’s largest economy by nominal GDP, and one of the biggest cultural influences globally. However, it’s worth noting that China, the world’s second-largest economy and the most populated, had very little search interest in comparison, at least based on Google Trends data.

Zooming into Specific Regions

In addition to the network map highlighting the overall top googled countries, Sundell created a series of videos breaking down the data monthly, by regions. Here are the videos for the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

The United States

Since 2004, there have been a high number of searches for Canada, Mexico and India in America.

The searches for Mexico seem to be concentrated in the Western U.S., which is also where a large portion of the country’s Hispanic population lives. In contrast, searches for India seem to come mostly from the eastern side of the country.

Europe

The U.S. is by the far the most commonly googled country across Europe, ranking number one consistently over the last two decades.

However, Russia stole the limelight in 2014, the year that they invaded and ultimately annexed Crimea.

Asia

In the early 2000s, the U.S. held the top googled spot in Asia, but over time, relative searches for the U.S. go down. India stole the top spot to become the most googled country in Asia for a majority of the 2010s.

One anomaly occurred when Japan briefly took the top spot in March 2011, which is when a magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit the northern coast of Japan, causing a devastating tsunami.

What will future search results reveal about the global landscape? Were any of the results surprising?

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Politics

Which Countries Trust Their Government, and Which Ones Don’t?

There is a clear correlation between trust in government and trust in public institutions, but a few countries buck the trend.

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Which Countries Trust Their Government, and Which Ones Don’t?

In many countries around the world, vast portions of the population do not trust their own government.

Lack of faith in government and politics is nothing new, but in times of uncertainty, that lack of trust can coalesce into movements that challenge the authority of ruling parties and even threaten the stability of nations.

This visualization uses data from the Ipsos Global Trustworthiness Monitor to look at how much various populations trust their government and public institutions.

Tracking Trust in Government

Since the beginning of the pandemic, global trust in government has improved by eight percentage points, but that is only a small improvement on an otherwise low score.

At the country level, feelings towards government can vary widely. India, Germany, Netherlands, and Malaysia had the highest government trust levels.

Many of the countries with the lowest levels of trust were located in Latin America. This makes sense, as trust in politicians in this region is almost non-existent. For example, in Colombia, only 4% of the population consider politicians trustworthy. In Argentina, that figure falls to just 3%.

Trust in Public Institutions

Broadly speaking, people trust their public services more than the governments in charge of managing and funding them. This makes sense as civil servants fare much better than politicians and government ministers in trustworthiness.

chart showing global trust in professions. Politicians and government ministers rank the lowest.

As our main chart demonstrates, there is a correlation between faith in government and trust in public institutions. There are clear “high trust” and “low trust” groupings in the countries included in the polling, but there is also a third group that stands out—the countries that have high trust in public institutions, but not in their government. Leading this group is Japan, which has a stark difference in trust between public services and politicians. There are many factors that explain this difference, such as values, corruption levels, and the reliability of public services in various countries.

While trust scores for government improved slightly during the pandemic, trust in public institutions stayed nearly the same.

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