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Welcome to Musklandia: Austin adjusts to life with Tesla and its eccentric billionaire boss Elon Musk

Kara Carlson, Austin American-Statesman on

Published in Science & Technology News

"He is one of, if not the most powerful voice in the world in terms of social media and a following," Ives said. "If Musk talks, everyone's listening. When you're on the right side of that, it's great. When you're on the wrong side of that, it's a lot of downsides."

Few days go by without Musk making some sort of headline on social media, whether it be for company news, cryptic personal statements, political commentary or just posting a meme.

One example was early last week, as after polling his Twitter followers on whether he should sell 10% of his Tesla stock, Musk sold about 900,000 shares, netting over $1.1 billion. His trust also sold more than 3.5 million shares worth $3.88 billion. The stock options that were sold would expire next year and still leave Musk with about 170 million Tesla shares.

More sales later in the week, from both Musk and his trust, have brought the total stock sold to 6.4 million shares, worth a total of $6.9 billion. The sales so far amount to less than 4% of the shares he holds.

Ives said that while a sale of some stock has been expected to pay upcoming taxes, holding a Twitter poll to sell the stock is "another soap opera that can only happen to one company and one CEO in the world, Musk."

Here are a few more highlights and lowlights from Musk on social media in the past month:

 

—Over the weekend, he clashed with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Twitter after the former presidential candidate from Vermont said the extremely wealthy should pay their fair share. Musk tweeted: “I keep forgetting that you’re still alive,” and later added, “Want me to sell more stock, Bernie? Just say the word …”

—He criticized Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard, with whom he has feuded for years, on Twitter. He claimed to "wish he never met" the co-founder, whom he considers the "worst person I’ve ever worked with in my entire career,” and said that Eberhard “came damn close to killing Tesla.”

—He tweeted a crass comment at Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden after the politician tweeted in support of a billionaires income tax and said Musk paying taxes shouldn't be dependent on a Twitter poll.

—He temporarily changed his Twitter name to Lord Edge, likely a reference to the phrase “edge lord.”

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