Posted on October 21, 2018 |
by Carolyn Fortuna
21. October 2018 by Carolyn Fortuna
The recent statement by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against Tesla CEO Elon Musk about his tweets points out how far away many major US institutions are the reality of effective contemporary communication.
Social Media, with its potential for open and fluid to and fro conversations, can develop relationships in a more natural, organic, and influential way. Corporate Communications Historically
It also promotes and enhances knowledge and thoughtful discussions, and sometimes speeds them up important social changes.
Musk's social media messaging is a sign of today's participatory appeal, with consumers having a real chance of getting Warhol's fifteen minutes of fame and businesses learning and improving.
A more balanced market with Musk and Twitter?
"The future of advertising is the Internet."
– Bill Gates
Tesla's agreement with the SEC in 2018 included an agreement that Musk would not tweet about the company without the company's legal team approval. ("Tesla will set up a new committee of independent directors and introduce additional controls and procedures to oversee Musk's communication.") For anyone who spends at least a small amount of time each day on one of the many and evolving social media platforms, we know that such an agreement – if it could actually be implemented – would extract Musk's voice and authenticity from what has long been understood as Tesla's main marketing method.
Tweeting is part of the Tesla marketing palette, which also includes YouTube, but not traditional advertising or Facebook, but the Tesla customer base is watching and clinging tightly to Musk's tweets, not Tesla's YouTube channel or even his corporate Twitter -Channel. The authenticity and essential information that Musk provides on Twitter is partly the reason why he follows 23 million users on Twitter and only 3 million follow the Tesla account. In addition, Musk is playful and downright weird in his account and also tweets about SpaceX, The Boring Company and AI. He also drops ordinary, human notes about the importance of innovation, especially in relation to Tesla. Should spontaneous comments like these be slowed down and suffocated by a group of tweet reviewers?
Since his fame, Tesla has insisted that traditional print advertising is simply not the right choice for clean energy and electric car companies. Closest was the competition for amateur video ads proposed by a 10-year-old, something Musk had apparently discovered on Twitter. Musk then announced the contest via Twitter and announced the winner to its 11 million Twitter followers.
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 29, 2017
The tools and strategies for communicating with customers have changed dramatically with the advent of social media. Liquid Internet-based messages have become an important factor in influencing various aspects of consumer behavior – consumer awareness, information dissemination, opinion making, buying behavior and post-sale communication and evaluation.
Musk's early understanding of social media potential as a hybrid advertising mix led to mentor-consumer discussions that the SEC described as problematic. Honestly, Elon's tweets are a sign of the kinds of conversations that big corporations around the world are now incorporating to drive the market. Stifling such a remarkable user of Twitter is stifling a shift to this smoother, more open, public access to communication.
Musk's tweets translate into a kind of everyman communication
"Many small things were made big by the right kind of advertising."
– Mark Twain
The Wall Street Journal conducted an analysis of Musk's tweets from 2018 and earlier, and although this synopsis preceded the SEC debacle, it offers some fascinating good insights into Musk's tweets. His ubiquitous presence in everyday social media was largely geared toward getting an audience to drink "Tesla Kool-Aid." That should not have surprised anyone, including the SEC.
However, he does this in a way that is very untypical for big company bosses – he often responds to tweeters. He does not just blow up a message. The mutual influence of communication is clear – a real back and forth. Many consumer ideas are included in the products, and it seems that Musk wanted to incorporate the ideas of shareholders in a similar way.
It gets even more interesting.
Elon's answers are not exclusive to individuals known by name with a huge number of followers. They are aimed more at people with fewer than 500 followers than at people with more than 2000 followers! This makes Elon Musk a kind of Everyman – in a sense he is just another social media user sharing experiences, interpretations and perspectives. And so he has stated that he feels under some circumstances, for example when he has responded to what he considers to be very misleading and unjust criticisms of his efforts to help others.
Musk validates participants who use social media to develop ideas for society's sustainability issues and solutions, people who want to improve Tesla's products, and people who are simply looking to connect with one of the most influential people in society, someone who inspires them. His insistence on behaving like an everyman and not acting as if he stands above the crowd gives others the confidence to strive for the same degree of success, realizing that he is only human.
Social coproduction, in which people produce something together, even though it is miles apart, is the foundation of social media. The SEC agreement alienates communicative coproduction across classes and geography.
As Musk's Twitter tone is relaxed, it seems more accessible and real than other corporate CEOs. Back in 2006, Henry Jenkins coined the term "participatory culture" to describe US teenagers who became media professionals. Web 2.0, as it was also called, transformed the dissemination of information and formalized the role of digital technologies in social conviction. It refers to the involvement of users, audiences, consumers and fans in the creation of culture and content.
Elon Musk's tweets are more than a give-and-take with followers and even occasionally contain self-ironic humor. In fact, Jenkins' description of participatory culture describes "relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support for creating and sharing creations, and a kind of informal mentality in which experienced participants pass on knowledge to novices" his Twitter followers. He is the experienced techno-geek participant who shares his physics background and sustainability vision with the less experienced, who in turn decide if and what type of buy-in – whether financial or philosophical – they offer.
Wired correlated Musk's Twitter activity and Tesla's turbulent stock price, highlighting the moments when the company's market valuation rose or fell based on CEO positions. Is that fraud or finesse? A dialectical or disingenuous digital marketing?
"Advertising is the art To persuade people to spend
money that they do not have for something they do not need. "
– Will Rogers
Elon Musk's tweets as effective infotainment and for-profit reasoning on climate change should be differentiated from the outside and obvious Attempts to unfairly manipulate the capitalist system.
Musk is a lesson to the rest of us about the benefits and beliefs inherent in social media. Unlike other company CEOs, Elon's tweets are also unique to Elon. While most CEOs have an invisible infrastructure that makes media messages a carefully controlled language, Musk is authentic, unpredictable, and representative of our society today. It's one of the things his devotees love about him and Tesla.
Social media provide a melting pot of communicative exchange, a disregard for traditional media action, and an opportunity to influence the influence of transparent participatory cultures on social norms and markets. Let's be Elon Elon, right? We will benefit in the long run from his art and spontaneity.