Rupert Murdoch expands media interests – with a Twitter account

Tycoon joins social networking site with baffling series of New Year messages

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The Independent Online

At a time when many ponder turning a new leaf, just how could an octogenarian media mogul with a few corporate image problems shake things up a bit? The answer, if you are Rupert Murdoch, is to take to Twitter and impart your wisdom on issues from the scourge of youth unemployment to children's swimming games.

The tycoon, whose last sortie into the world of social media cost his News Corp conglomerate £350m with the ill-fated purchase of MySpace, yesterday set the Twittersphere alight by signing up to the micro-blogging site from the Caribbean and posting his thoughts for all to see.

The authenticity of the "@rupertmurdoch" account – complete with tweets littered by misplaced full stops and random capital letters – was widely questioned but last night News Corp confirmed that it was indeed being written by the company's 80-year-old chairman and chief executive.

Twitter's executive chairman, Jack Dorsey, who according to Mr Murdoch's musings seems to have attended a New Year's Eve party with the billionaire on the West Indian island of St Barths, also posted his own confirmatory message stating: "With his own voice, in his own way, @rupertmurdoch is now on Twitter."

Within less than a day, Mr Murdoch had amassed nearly 25,000 followers as he posted regular tweets making clear his views on an eclectic range of subjects from a biography of Apple founder Steve Jobs ("interesting but unfair") to his belief that George Clooney deserves an Oscar for his latest film, The Descendants (suitably distributed by a subsidiary of News Corp). Among other insights were his enjoyment of a swimming game he called "uboating" and the cryptic conclusion that thoughts are best kept private on St Barths ("like London!").

The tycoon also suggested he was concerned about broader issues for the year to come. Typing in a manner that betrayed a few virtual typographical teething troubles, Mr Murdoch wrote: "Happy 2012. May itbe better than all experts predict. Has to be! Must change everything to create jobs for all, especiallyyoung."

The arrival of Mr Murdoch on Twitter represents a further evolution in his embrace of a medium he once regarded with disdain. His biographer, Michael Woolf, was left with the impression after an interview in 2009 that Mr Murdoch considered the internet to be "a place for porn, thievery, and hackers".

There was some evidence that Mr Murdoch is nonetheless determined to make his arrival on Twitter a success. One of just four people he chose to follow was Lord Sugar, who may be able to offer his fellow entrepreneur a few tips on how to boost his personal circulation towards his own 1.4 million followers.

Meanwhile, reaction among Mr Murdoch's fellow tweeters was, predictably, rich in references to the travails of his British newspaper empire. Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott wrote: "Welcome to Twitter... @rupertmurdoch. I've left you a Happy New Year message on my voicemail."

@RUPERTMURDOCH: his opening tweets

On today's bank holiday: Maybe Brits have too many holidays for broke country!

On New Year's Eve: Huge NY eve do. Oligarchs and silicon valley biggies (like Jack [Dorsey]). May. Learn something.

On holidays: "Vacations great time for thinking. St Barth's too many people. Thoughts best kept private around here. Like London!"

On the Republican presidential candidacy: Great oped inWSJ today on Ron Paul. Huge appeal of libertarian message.

On swimming: Great time in sea with young daughters, uboating.

On Steve Jobs: Steve Jobs biog interesting but unfair. Family must hate.

On holidays (part 2): Back to work tomorrow. Enough idling!

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