Elon Musk tweets about his mental health

File this in the ever-growing folder marked How Social Media Has Changed the World: Elon Musk said on Twitter that he might be bipolar.

It started off with the Tesla/SpaceX CEO responding to a tweet Sunday about Musk’s Instagram use and the billionaire’s seemingly charmed existence.

Then someone asked Musk whether he’s bipolar, and Musk said “yeah,” but followed it up with a qualifier.

Musk is an avid user of Twitter: He has teased big developments, joked and lashed out on the platform. He has engaged in conversation with journalists, fans and critics. Lately, he has also posted personal moments on Instagram, including photos of his girlfriend, actress Amber Heard.

Earlier this year, Musk admitted on Twitter that the criticism of his role on President Trump’s business advisory council was “getting him down.” Among other things, he had been targeted with a big ad campaign to break ties with Trump. He eventually left the council after Trump said he would pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement.

But answering a question about his mental health may be the most personal this CEO of a public, multibillion-dollar company has ever gotten on social media.

Musk certainly isn’t the first high-profile executive to share personal feelings on social media. Facebook’s top two executives, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, have publicly shared their feelings about miscarriage (Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan) and the loss of a spouse (Sandberg’s husband died unexpectedly two years ago).

But Zuckerberg and Sandberg have an interest in sharing their lives on Facebook. Musk heads a clean-energy company, a space company and has other varied interests, such as artificial intelligence and boring underground tunnels to solve traffic problems. Is it a good idea for him to be so candid on social media?

“Obviously a savvy guy like him who’s very comfortable in this new environment can share more with more people effectively,” said Mark Veverka, head of the San Francisco office of Sitrick & Co., a strategic communications firm that advises executives, in a phone interview with SiliconBeat Monday. “But even a savvy CEO like Musk can perhaps take it to a subject matter that may have been best left private.”

Beyond the PR implications, should people be worried about Musk, even though it appears he might have self-diagnosed and might have been using “bipolar” offhandedly?

Fred Wilson, the venture capitalist who blogs on AVC, took note of Musk’s tweets.

“What he describes in that tweet is the life of an entrepreneur. And also, to some extent, the life of a VC who cares,” Wilson wrote. “Starting and running companies brings stress that seemingly never stop.”

Musk’s seemingly amazing life hasn’t been all big revelations of electric cars and successful rocket launches. It has also been marked with having to use most of his money to keep his companies going, according to “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future,” his biography that was published a couple of years ago. In addition, he has been divorced three times — twice from the same woman.

Tesla is now one of the nation’s most valuable car companies. But it’s entering a high-pressure, mass-market phase with the production of the Model 3, its cheapest car yet. Friday at the Model 3’s debut at the company’s Fremont factory, Musk referred to the challenges ahead for the company by telling the many employees gathered there, “we’re going to be in production hell.”

Sunday, he again brought up hell in his tweeted replies to the question about whether he is bipolar.

Tesla has not responded to a request for comment.

Shares of Tesla fell nearly 3.5 percent to $323.47 Monday. One analyst, Bernstein’s Toni Sacconaghi, reportedly wrote in a note to clients that Musk “sounds increasingly squeamish about the production ramp.”

 

Photo: Elon Musk listens to President Donald Trump speak during a meeting with business leaders in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23, 2017. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

 

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  • retired

    Musk would be Tripolar

 
 
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