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Elon Musk also threatened to buy my company. Here’s how we handled it


Elon Musk is the world’s richest man – with a Twitter following of 81.7 million. (File)

Elon Musk’s unsolicited bid for Twitter Inc. for sale is a disturbing event for me and my former colleagues. In 2019, I was working as the digital editor of the London-based New Scientist, the weekly science magazine, when Musk lazily tweeted about how much it would cost to buy it.

Barbarians at the gate? Try billionaire in the DMs.

Occasional interactions with @ElonMusk was not new to me or my team. One co-worker regularly sent him a message every few months asking for an interview – and to slyly promote my colleague’s book. Sometimes Musk even reacted, claiming “New Scientist is my favorite magazine.” Little did we know this flirtation would lead to a takeover bid, on Twitter, for our science magazine One Spring Day in 2019.

After complaining about our publication’s pay wall, Musk asked how much it would cost to just buy ‘New Scientist’ straight. Eventually, a transaction did not take place – although the company was later sold to the Daily Mail Group for about £ 70 million ($ 92 million). But Musk’s offer has left management confused about how to react.

Here’s what my team learned from the experience:

1. Audit your Twitter ad

The early warning sign of an impending buyout offer from Musk is that he is following your account. @ -ing he you with cryptic tweets? DM for you? These are the key indicators of a Musk-hostile takeover that you and your social media executives should be looking for.

2. If Musk tweets that he wants to buy your company, do not panic

Good advice in any circumstances. Especially one where the fate of your company rests on the whims of the world’s richest man – with a Twitter following of 81.7 million – who apparently enjoys chaos.

3. Trust your social media manager

That underpaid and frustrated person sitting in a corner of your office all day thinking of the best GIFs to send on Slack? They are now the most important person in your entire corporation.

4. Get your emoji game plan together

Musk is known as a “memelord”, a person who creates and distributes memes (ask your marketing team about it later). Answering with an emoji is a great way to find the right balance between a serious answer to his offer and having it casual enough that you will not be ashamed if it does turn out to be a joke.

5. Be concise

Your board of directors and executives should probably know that you are about to negotiate the ownership of the company using a medium that has a character limit of 280 characters. Each letter counts.

After Musk asked “How much is it?” referring to the company, Nina Wright, CEO of New Scientist, drafted a tweet that kept it light (wink emoji) and promised to solve the paywall problem.

6. Send the tweet

You’re on Twitter, are you?

7. Do not take it too seriously

Musk never bought New Scientist, and as he admitted Thursday, he may never buy Twitter. It is therefore best to react cautiously while accepting any offer with a large grain of salt.

(This story was not edited by techlives staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated stream.)

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