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Rupert Murdoch's 'smashing start' on Twitter
The controversial media mogul quickly collects tens of thousands of followers — but not without a few hiccups
Rupert Murdoch just joined Twitter on Dec. 31, 2011, and already he's inspiring controversy by tweeting that Brits have too many holidays for a financially-struggling nation.
Rupert Murdoch just joined Twitter on Dec. 31, 2011, and already he's inspiring controversy by tweeting that Brits have too many holidays for a financially-struggling nation.
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T

he octogenarian behind Fox News has "thrown all caution to the wind and opened a personal Twitter account," says Steven Mostyn at The Tech Herald. Since Rupert Murdoch sent his first tweet on Saturday, the News Corp. boss has amassed more than 60,000 followers. And already, the scrutinizing glare of the Twittersphere has the controversial media executive, and his every 140-character dispatch, in its sights. Here, a brief guide to Murdoch's foray into social media:

Why is Murdoch tweeting?
The Australian-born billionaire has had a tumultuous year, fending off allegations that some of his U.K. journalists illegally hacked the phones of public figures. Many see Murdoch's latest move as an effort to humanize himself and become more transparent.

What has he tweeted so far?
He's offered glowing praise of George Clooney's The Descendants, distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures (which Murdoch owns). He's reflected, pithily, on Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography. But it's not all cultural commentary. One deleted tweet read: "Maybe Brits have too many holidays for broke country!" Murdoch's wife Wendi Deng hastily replied: "RUPERT!! delete tweet!" — adding, "EVERY1 @rupertmurdoch was having a joke pROMSIE!!!" With episodes like this, "it certainly seems like Mr. Murdoch will be an exciting addition to Twitter," says Ben Popper at Beta Beat, dubbing Murdoch's first few days a "smashing start."

Any other noteworthy tweets?
On Sunday, Murdoch offered some qualified praise for GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum: "Good to see Santorum surging in Iowa. Regardless of policies, all debates showed principles, consistency and humility like no other." The tweet was sent just two days before the Iowa caucuses, notes CNN. Santorum, along with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, was on the Fox News payroll before jumping into the GOP race.

Is Twitter welcoming Murdoch to the neighborhood?
Not really. "Almost all the @replies at @rupertmurdoch are pure abuse," tweets former TechCrunch writer Paul CarrCNN's Piers Morgan says Murdoch's tweeting is "fascinating," and wants his own 1.6 million followers to welcome his "old boss." But former U.K. Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott may have had the last laugh when he jokingly wrote: "Welcome to Twitter...@rupertmurdoch. I've left you a Happy New Year message on my voicemail!" 

Sources: Beta Beat, CNNMediaite, The Tech Herald

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