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.
Where Will the World’s Next 1,000 Babies Be Born?
This graphic paints a picture of the world’s population, showing which countries are most likely to welcome the next 1,000 babies.
Where Will the World’s Next 1,000 Babies Be Born?
View a higher resolution version of this map.
Every four minutes, approximately 1,000 babies are born across the globe. But in which countries are these babies the most statistically likely to come from?
Using data from the CIA World Factbook, this graphic by Pratap Vardhan (Stats of India) paints a picture of the world’s demographics, showing which countries are most likely to welcome the next 1,000 babies based on population and birth rates as of 2022 estimates.
The Next 1,000 Babies, By Country
Considering India has a population of nearly 1.4 billion, it’s fairly unsurprising that it ranks first on the list. Of every 1,000 babies born, the South Asian country accounts for roughly 172 of them.
|Place||Region||Births Per 1,000 Global Babies|
|🇨🇩 Congo, Democratic Republic of the||Africa||31.90|
|🇺🇸 United States||Americas||30.42|
|🇿🇦 South Africa||Africa||7.84|
|🇨🇮 Cote d'Ivoire||Africa||5.97|
|🇧🇫 Burkina Faso||Africa||5.41|
|🇬🇧 United Kingdom||Europe||5.37|
|🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||Asia||3.69|
|🇸🇸 South Sudan||Africa||3.19|
|🇰🇵 Korea, North||Asia||2.71|
|🇰🇷 Korea, South||Asia||2.63|
|🇱🇰 Sri Lanka||Asia||2.35|
|🇸🇱 Sierra Leone||Africa||2.06|
|🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea||Oceania||2.04|
|🇩🇴 Dominican Republic||Americas||1.42|
|🇨🇫 Central African Republic||Africa||1.31|
|🇨🇬 Congo, Republic of the||Africa||1.30|
|🇸🇻 El Salvador||Americas||0.86|
|🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates||Asia||0.79|
|🇨🇷 Costa Rica||Americas||0.55|
|🇵🇸 West Bank||Asia||0.54|
|🇳🇿 New Zealand||Oceania||0.47|
|🇭🇰 Hong Kong||Asia||0.43|
|🇵🇸 Gaza Strip||Asia||0.41|
|🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea||Africa||0.37|
|🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina||Europe||0.24|
|🇵🇷 Puerto Rico||Americas||0.18|
|🇲🇰 North Macedonia||Europe||0.16|
|🇸🇧 Solomon Islands||Oceania||0.12|
|🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago||Americas||0.11|
|🇨🇻 Cabo Verde||Africa||0.08|
|🇸🇹 Sao Tome and Principe||Africa||0.04|
|🇧🇸 Bahamas, The||Americas||0.04|
|🇳🇨 New Caledonia||Oceania||0.03|
|🇵🇫 French Polynesia||Oceania||0.03|
|🇱🇨 Saint Lucia||Americas||0.01|
|🇫🇲 Micronesia, Federated States of||Oceania||0.01|
|🇲🇭 Marshall Islands||Oceania||0.01|
|🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda||Americas||0.01|
|🇻🇨 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||Americas||0.01|
|🇻🇮 Virgin Islands||Americas||0.01|
|🇮🇲 Isle of Man||Europe||0.01|
|🇲🇵 Northern Mariana Islands||Oceania||0.01|
|🇹🇨 Turks and Caicos Islands||Americas||0.01|
|🇫🇴 Faroe Islands||Europe||0.01|
|🇦🇸 American Samoa||Oceania||0.01|
|🇰🇾 Cayman Islands||Americas||0.01|
|🇰🇳 Saint Kitts and Nevis||Americas||0.00|
|🇸🇽 Sint Maarten||Americas||0.00|
|🇲🇫 Saint Martin||Americas||0.00|
|🇻🇬 British Virgin Islands||Americas||0.00|
|🇸🇲 San Marino||Europe||0.00|
|🇼🇫 Wallis and Futuna||Oceania||0.00|
|🇨🇰 Cook Islands||Oceania||0.00|
|🇸🇭 Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha||Africa||0.00|
|🇧🇱 Saint Barthelemy||Americas||0.00|
|🇫🇰 Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)||Americas||0.00|
|🇵🇲 Saint Pierre and Miquelon||Americas||0.00|
It’s worth noting that, while India ranks number one on the list, the country’s birth rate (which is its total number of births in a year per 1,000 individuals) is actually slightly below the global average, at 16.8 compared to 17.7 respectively.
China, which comes second on the list, is similar to India, with a high population but relatively low birth rate as well. On the other hand, Nigeria, which ranks third on the list, has a birth rate that’s nearly double the global average, at 34.2.
Why is Nigeria’s birth rate so high?
There are various intermingling factors at play, but one key reason is the fact that Nigeria’s economy still is developing, and ranks 131st globally in terms of GDP per capita. Further, access to education for women is still not as widespread as it could be, and research shows that this is strongly correlated with higher birth rates.
The World’s Population Growth Rate is Declining
While there are hundreds of thousands of babies born around the world each day, it’s worth mentioning that the world’s overall population growth rate has actually been declining since the 1960s.
This is happening for a number of reasons, including:
- Increased wealth around the world, which research has correlated with fewer births
- Various government policies discouraging large families
- The global shift from rural to urban living
By 2100, global population growth is expected to drop to 0.1%, which means we’ll essentially reach net-zero population growth.
This would increase our global median age even further, which poses a number of economic risks if countries don’t properly prepare for this demographic shift.
All the Contents of the Universe, in One Graphic
We explore the ultimate frontier: the composition of the entire known universe, some of which are still being investigated today.
All the Contents of the Universe, in One Graphic
Scientists agree that the universe consists of three distinct parts: everyday visible (or measurable) matter, and two theoretical components called dark matter and dark energy.
These last two are theoretical because they have yet to be directly measured—but even without a full understanding of these mysterious pieces to the puzzle, scientists can infer that the universe’s composition can be broken down as follows:
|Free hydrogen and helium||4%|
Let’s look at each component in more detail.
Dark energy is the theoretical substance that counteracts gravity and causes the rapid expansion of the universe. It is the largest part of the universe’s composition, permeating every corner of the cosmos and dictating how it behaves and how it will eventually end.
Dark matter, on the other hand, has a restrictive force that works closely alongside gravity. It is a sort of “cosmic cement” responsible for holding the universe together. Despite avoiding direct measurement and remaining a mystery, scientists believe it makes up the second largest component of the universe.
Free Hydrogen and Helium
Free hydrogen and helium are elements that are free-floating in space. Despite being the lightest and most abundant elements in the universe, they make up roughly 4% of its total composition.
Stars, Neutrinos, and Heavy Elements
All other hydrogen and helium particles that are not free-floating in space exist in stars.
Stars are one of the most populous things we can see when we look up at the night sky, but they make up less than one percent—roughly 0.5%—of the cosmos.
Neutrinos are subatomic particles that are similar to electrons, but they are nearly weightless and carry no electrical charge. Although they erupt out of every nuclear reaction, they account for roughly 0.3% of the universe.
Heavy elements are all other elements aside from hydrogen and helium.
Elements form in a process called nucleosynthesis, which takes places within stars throughout their lifetimes and during their explosive deaths. Almost everything we see in our material universe is made up of these heavy elements, yet they make up the smallest portion of the universe: a measly 0.03%.
How Do We Measure the Universe?
In 2009, the European Space Agency (ESA) launched a space observatory called Planck to study the properties of the universe as a whole.
Its main task was to measure the afterglow of the explosive Big Bang that originated the universe 13.8 billion years ago. This afterglow is a special type of radiation called cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR).
Temperature can tell scientists much about what exists in outer space. When investigating the “microwave sky”, researchers look for fluctuations (called anisotropy) in the temperature of CMBR. Instruments like Planck help reveal the extent of irregularities in CMBR’s temperature, and inform us of different components that make up the universe.
You can see below how the clarity of CMBR changes over time with multiple space missions and more sophisticated instrumentation.
What Else is Out There?
Scientists are still working to understand the properties that make up dark energy and dark matter.
NASA is currently planning a 2027 launch of the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, an infrared telescope that will hopefully help us in measuring the effects of dark energy and dark matter for the first time.
As for what’s beyond the universe? Scientists aren’t sure.
There are hypotheses that there may be a larger “super universe” that contains us, or we may be a part of one “island” universe set apart from other island multiverses. Unfortunately we aren’t able to measure anything that far yet. Unravelling the mysteries of the deep cosmos, at least for now, remains a local endeavor.