Stock Market Can't Resist Tech Celebrities' Tweets

The Tesla CEO's tweets are capable of generating hashtags, memes, and even temporary spikes in the price of company shares. 

John McDuling over at Quartz wrote a keen piece today about Tesla & SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's superhuman abilities to send Twitter abuzz in 140 characters or fewer. McDuling focuses in particular on the internet's reaction to the following tweet:


Major new Tesla product line -- not a car -- will be unveiled at our Hawthorne Design Studio on Thurs 8pm, April 30

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 30, 2015

Ever the intrepid journalists, we at Big Think have obtained exclusive video footage of Twitter's approximate collective reaction:

Okay, so that's actually Beatlemania from 50 years ago, but it's an apt substitute for the cumulative twists and shouts of the collected Twitterati upon Musk's sudden proclamation. As McDuling notes, the Tesla company isn't commenting on the product announcement, making Musk's message all the more delectable to those begging for scraps from the entrepreneur's e-table.

Musk knows how to build hype; that's not groundbreaking news. Heck, the guy's trying to shoot people to Mars. It doesn't get much more hype than that. But as McDuling explains, Musk's twittering thumbs affect a lot more than just abstract excitement:

"His tweet appears to have delivered a boost to the Tesla share price. The stock is up by as much as 3% today, and before the tweet, was trading in negative territory."

Let's state first that Musk isn't tweeting with the express intent to manipulate stock prices. There's no reason for him to do it. What benefit does he get from a brief spike? What's really fascinating here is just how much power is held within the man's Twitter account. McDuling writes that there's no solid proof of correlation between Musk's tweets and stock price jumps — sure, it's not definite or set in stone — but he does provide several examples of Tesla-related tweets that preceded daily increases of at least 2.9 percent. No one would deny that if Apple's Tim Cook tweeted today that iPhone 35 (or whatever number we're on right now) was dropping on Friday, the internet would erupt like a digital Vesuvius. 

So what's the take-away here? First, the hawk eyes of the internet are intently focused on folks like Musk and Cook. These are the men who make decisions that could instantaneously change the shape of the tech industry or the way we perceive it. Never before Twitter has something existed that could so quickly and publicly spur change. Let's hope for everyone's sake that Musk's account password isn't "password."

Second, even if Musk doesn't intend for his tweeting to play the market like a violin, this sort of thing could become a bigger topic in the near future. Only time will tell how new forms of digital communication grow alongside stock exchanges.

Finally, McDuling thinks the product referenced in Musk's tweet is "[a] battery that can be used to power a home," which is an Ideafeed post for another day.  

When he's not reaching for the stars, making electric cars, or tweeting up a storm, Musk is also a Big Think expert. Here's a preview of an exclusive lesson available only on Big Think Edge.

Read more at Quartz.

Photo credit: Katherine Welles / Shutterstock

Related Articles

How does alcohol affect your brain?

Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.

(Photo by Angie Garrett/Wikimedia Commons)
Mind & Brain
  • Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
  • Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
  • Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists sequence the genome of this threatened species

If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.

Surprising Science
  • A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
  • It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
  • Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.

If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.

Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.

elephant by Guillaume le Clerc

Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons

13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.

It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.

But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.

John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."

What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.

Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.

Why cauliflower is perfect for the keto diet

The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.

Purple cauliflower. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Surprising Science
  • The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
  • The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
  • It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
Keep reading Show less