News Corp's Rupert Murdoch joins Twitter social network

Rupert Murdoch's Twitter account Rupert Murdoch joined Twitter at the end of a year in which he closed the tabloid News of The World

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Twitter has added media mogul Rupert Murdoch to its ranks.

Within three days his @rupertmurdoch account attracted over 45,000 followers.

But reaction to the 80-year-old chairman and chief executive of News Corporation's Twitter presence has been mixed.

In a tweet Rupert Murdoch noted: "I'm getting killed for fooling around here and friends frightened what I may really say."

Among those sending jovial reminders of current controversies, former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott tweeted, "Welcome to Twitter...@rupertmurdoch. I've left you a Happy New Year message on my voicemail!"

The comment referred to the phone-hacking scandal which had resulted in the closure of the News of The World.

Mr Murdoch also threatened to create more problems for himself after tweeting from his tablet computer about the UK's bank holiday: "Maybe Brits have too many holidays for [a] broke country!"

He deleted the posting shortly afterwards but was too late to prevent hundreds of other users retweeting the comment. Several of whom noted that Mr Murdoch was on the Caribbean island of Saint Barthelemy and added the hashtag #murdochdeletedtweets.

Keeping positive

Mr Murdoch has received advice on how to tweet, from a new unverified account written under the name of Wendi Deng, his wife.

It said: "Trying to explain to @rupertmurdoch that twitter is about following not just being followed. sharing and chatting and tweeting."

However, Mr Murdoch initially chose to follow only four people, including Amstrad founder Lord Sugar who tweeted: "I wonder if my old pal @rupertmurdoch is eying up Twitter to buy or invest in it. He missed out on Facebook, and My Space.. not a great deal."

Screengrab of Mr Murdoch's comment about Brits Rupert Murdoch has already got to grips with Twitter's delete function

Mr Murdoch also follows Zynga co-founder Mark Pincus, Twitter's executive chairman Jack Dorsey, and a spoof account purporting to be from Google's chief executive Larry Page.

Mr Murdoch's tweets have already covered a diverse range of topics. One described the Steve Jobs biography as "interesting but unfair," while another praised the movie, We Bought a Zoo, which is distributed by News Corp's 20th Century Fox.

He touches on politics, praising New York mayor Mike Bloomberg and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, who was named Briton of the Year by Mr Murdoch's Times newspaper.

After a difficult 2011 Mr Murdoch also chose to take a positive view of the year ahead, wishing his followers: "Happy 2012. May it be better than all experts predict. Has to be!"

Absolutely terrified

Experts in corporate use of social media highlight the challenges Mr Murdoch will face.

"Be engaging, be conversational, be humble and learn," said Lee Bryant, the European managing director of social business consultancy Dachis.

Last year Mr Murdoch described his grilling by MPs as "the most humble day of my life."

Mr Bryant said that it was going to be hard for Mr Murdoch to respond to all the tweets addressed to him, but said that he should reply to a few.

However, he thought that having the man at the top talking directly to the public would leave his media advisors "absolutely terrified".

Others thought that the foray into microblogging was a mistake.

"I would have advised him to think very carefully before opening up this can of worms," said Drew Benvie, UK managing director of public relations firm Hotwire.

In his view it would be a big challenge for a new tweeter, who was "not quite ready to take the stabilisers off".

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