Billionaire investor and Berkshire Hathaway founder Warren Buffett joined Twitter overnight.
His first tweet, “Warren in the House”, was screened live by Fortune magazine as it sat down with the Oracle of Omaha for a question-and-answer session on women in business.
At the moment, it’s not clear whether Buffett will keep tweeting after his Fortune interview.
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But the decision to join the social networking empire is a significant one. Buffett’s smallest comments are analysed for any sort of clues about his investment strategy. Considering his track record, investors are eager to tap into his successful strategy.
Such influence on Twitter must be carefully wielded, as recent events show it can have a massive effect on financial markets.
Last week, the account of the Associated Press was hacked. After the hackers tweeted that the White House had been attacked, $136 billion was wiped off the Dow Jones.
If Warren Buffett’s account were to be hacked, a similar impact on a company mentioned by name in a single tweet isn’t out of the question.
The Berkshire Hathaway founder’s pronouncements have the power to move global stock markets, and this may have played a part in his staying off Twitter for so long.
The founder of social media consultancy SR7, Anthony Mason, tells SmartCompany a hacking attempt isn’t out of the question.
“There certainly is a capacity for accounts like Mr Buffett’s to be targeted by malicious groups online, and this could have the capacity to affect global financial systems and perceptions,” Mason says.
“His buy and sell suggestions and personal opinions will likely be monitored by traders using Twitter across the globe.”
Twitter does not have two-step authentication security measures, which means all one needs to do to hack an account is hack the password. This makes security a concern for all individuals and businesses using the platform, Mason says.
“Social media asset security is not just an issue for Mr Buffett, but for individuals and businesses of all types that are operating on the medium,” Mason says.
The impact is made even more significant considering Buffett is unlikely to use an assistant for his tweets, Mason says.
“Twitter represents a tremendous opportunity for business leaders to engage in a proper dialogue with a broad user base,” he says.
“Twitter also represents an opportunity to share content in an instant to thousands of followers. In Buffett’s case he has attracted almost 200,000 followers in only eight hours.”
Buffett joins influential global figures like Rupert Murdoch and Bill Clinton as a Twitter user.
Buffett’s tweets have attracted plenty of interest. He’s already been verified by Twitter, and his account already has 200,000 followers.