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.
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:
- What are Elon Musk’s most tweeted topics?
- 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.
|Year||Number of tweets||Busiest month on Twitter|
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:
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:
Please ignore prior tweets, as that was someone pretending to be me :) This is actually me.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 4, 2010
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.
Splashdown successful!! Sending fast boat to Dragon lat/long provided by P3 tracking planes #Dragon
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 31, 2012
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:
After 50k hats, we will start selling The Boring Company flamethrower
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 11, 2017
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.
Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018
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:
FREE AMERICA NOW
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 29, 2020
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:
Back to work I go …
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 8, 2021
Musk is still currently the richest person on the planet as of this article’s publication date, with a net worth of $213 billion.
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.
You can now buy a Tesla with Bitcoin
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 24, 2021
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.
Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock.
Do you support this?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 6, 2021
The majority of Twitter users voted yes, and the billionaire actually followed through and sold more than $16 billion worth of Tesla stock.
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.
Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 26, 2022
Musk would reply within 24 hours, and soon after, Fedorov would tweet a photo of Starlink terminals arriving safely in the country.
Ranked: America’s Best Universities
Evaluated on 19 different metrics, here’s the list of America’s best universities, led by 14 private schools.
Ranked: America’s Best Universities
The latest ranking of America’s best universities is here, perfectly timed for the approaching admissions season.
“Best” is of course subjective, and U.S. News and World Report has compiled 19 metrics on which they evaluated more than 400 national universities. Some of them include:
- Graduation rates & performance: A four-year rolling average of the proportion of each entering class earning a bachelor’s degree in six years or less. Performance is measured against predictions made by the publishers, and when beaten, the university gains a higher scoring.
- Peer assessment: A two-year weighted average of ratings from top academics—presidents, provosts and deans of admissions—on academic quality of peer institutions with which they are familiar.
- Financial resources: The average per student spend on instruction, research, student services and related educational expenditures in the 2021 fiscal year.
- Debt: A school’s average accumulated federal loan debt among borrowers only.
- Pell graduation rates & performance: the same calculation as stated above, but focused only on Pell Grant students, adjusted to give more credit to schools with larger Pell student proportions.
The website’s methodology section details how they sourced their data, the weights assigned to each metric, and their changes over the years.
From the hundreds assessed come the nearly 50 best universities that offer a variety of undergraduate majors, post-graduate programs, emphasize research, or award professional practice doctorates.
Which are the Best Universities in America?
At the top of the list, Princeton University is the best university in the country, known for its physics, economics, and international relations departments. Notably, it’s a rare Ivy league university that does not have a law, medical, or business school.
Here’s the full ranking of America’s best universities, along with annual tuition requirements.
|1||Princeton University||New Jersey||$59,710|
|7||Duke University||North Carolina||$66,172|
|9||Brown University||Rhode Island||$68,230|
|12||Columbia University||New York||$65,524|
|12||Cornell University||New York||$66,014|
|12||University of Chicago||Illinois||$65,619|
|18||Dartmouth College||New Hampshire||$65,511|
|20||University of Notre Dame||Indiana||$62,693|
Michigan, Ann Arbor
|22||Georgetown University||Washington, DC||$65,082|
|22||University of North|
Carolina at Chapel Hill
|North Carolina||$39,338 (out-state)
|24||Carnegie Mellon University||Pennsylvania||$63,829|
|24||University of Virginia||Virginia||$58,950 (out-state)
University, St. Louis
California, San Diego
|28||University of Florida||Florida||$28,658 (out-state)
|35||New York University||New York||$60,438|
|35||University of Illinois|
|New Jersey||$36,001 (out-state)
|40||University of Washington||Washington||$41,997 (out-state)
|43||The Ohio State University||Ohio||$36,722 (out-state)
|47||Texas A&M University||Texas||$40,607 (out-state)
|47||University of Georgia||Georgia||$30,220 (out-state)
|47||University of Rochester||New York||$64,384|
|47||Virginia Tech||Virginia||$36,090 (out-state)
|47||Wake Forest University||North Carolina||$64,758|
|53||Florida State University||Florida||$21,683 (out-state)
|53||William & Mary||Virginia||$48,841 (out-state)
MIT places second, and Harvard and Stanford tie for third. Yale rounds out the top five.
Private universities, including seven Ivy League colleges, dominate the top of the rankings. Meanwhile, the highest-ranked public schools are tied at 15th, both state schools in California.
For affordability, since the higher ranks are populated by private universities, there tends to be a broad correlation of better universities being more expensive. That said, the most expensive school in the top 50 ranks is actually the University of Southern California, tied at 28th, for $68,237/year.
As it happens, also tied at 28th, the University of Florida is the most affordable public school for in-state students ($6,381/year) and Florida State University tied at 53rd, is the most affordable for out-of-staters at $21,683/year.
However these costs are tuition-only, and don’t account for other necessary expenses: accommodation, food, and textbooks.
Best University versus Best “Fit”
Finding the best university for prospective students is more than just perusing a long ranking list.
Aside from the numerous schools present within each university—which can often be the best for specific majors—factors like location, proximity to family, campus culture, the non-academic pursuits (sports, extracurriculars, internships) are also taken into consideration.
In fact, research has found that just attaining a university degree improves future earnings potential and employability.
Furthermore, individual engagement at college (irrespective of the rank of the school in question) plays a far bigger role in learning and general well-being than simply attending a highly-ranked school.
However, for low income and minority students, attending a top-ranked school does improve future earnings considerably. For women, it also often results in delaying marriage and kids, which results in more work-hours and as a result, more pay.
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