“Warren is in the house.”
If there’s one thing Warren Buffett knows, it’s how to make a return on an investment. His Twitter debut was no different. The billionaire known as the “Oracle of Omaha” for his moneymaking acumen took just the 25 characters above to announce himself on the social networking site at 12:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday, and he flipped that into 15,223 retweets and 78,888 followers (and counting) in an hour and a half. What's more, he first took to Twitter during a discussion about women in business, in which he argued that America would be more productive if women were in more key leadership positions.
He’s also raised the collective net worth of the Twitterverse considerably, becoming the second-wealthiest verified account holder behind Bill Gates, as noted by Forbes. (Carlos Slim, the world’s wealthiest man, isn’t on Twitter yet.)
Outside of the financial world and his new role as a noted feminist, Mr. Buffett doesn’t have the same sort of immediate household name recognition as say, Bill Clinton, who also started tweeting recently. So in case you aren’t familiar, here’s a few key facts about a guy who could easily make a case for being the real “most interesting man in the world: He’s a self-made billionaire, worth an estimated $53.3 billion as of 2013. His firm, Berkshire Hathaway, owns several notable companies, including GEICO Insurance, Dairy Queen, Fruit of the Loom, and Helzberg Diamonds outright, as well as stakes in Heinz, American Express, IBM, and others. He still lives in the same $31,500 home in Omaha that he bought in 1957 (though he also owns a $4 million vacation home in California). The caption under his senior picture in the high school yearbook reads, “Likes math; a future stockbroker.”
Despite his vast wealth, he’s also become somewhat of a champion of economic policies to reduce income inequality. President Obama’s proposed minimum tax rate of 30 percent on people earning more than $1 million per year became known as the “Buffett Rule” after Buffett wrote in a New York Times op-ed that it was unfair that wealthy people like him paid a lower effective tax rate than middle-income earners. He has also pledged to give away 99 percent of his wealth to charitable causes.
So now that Buffett is tweeting, what can we expect from his feed? If he’s the one really doing the tweeting, probably more personality than we’ve generally come to expect from the accounts of such highly visible people. He’s renowned for his writings; his annual shareholder letters are events unto themselves, and he’s lauded as a great communicator who gives advice described by at least one person as “in the Midwestern folk style, with numerous jokes.”
One thing we can’t expect: stock tips. Buffett doesn’t give them out, though he does occasionally offer windows into his thinking. In May of last year, he told reporters that he was steering clear of the much-hyped Facebook IPO because he didn’t understand the company well enough. As he often is, he turned out to be right.