Communicative and linguistic trends in Elon Musk’s personal branding (based on Twitter publications in 2020)

УДК 811.111

Davydovska N. V., PhD student
Research and Educational Center of Foreign Languages of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv

Communicative and linguistic trends in Elon Musk’s personal branding (based on Twitter publications in 2020) (pdf)

This research is dedicated to the study of the main communicative trends and linguistic specificities of Elon Musk’s personal branding. The paper analyses over 500 Tweets posted by Elon Musk in his personal Twitter account throughout 2020 and classifies them into 7 categories according to their communicative aim with regard to brand-building. According to the results of the analysis, informative, advertising, self-promotion, provocative, entertaining, bonding and saving face Tweets were singled out. We examined each group separately, tracing their influence on building, maintaining or boosting Elon Musk’s personal brand, as well as on countering threats to its status. The study analyses the most representative examples of each group and explains their role in Elon Musk’s personal branding.

As part of the present research, we studied linguistic devices employed by
Elon Musk within the brand-building effort and concluded that irony, codeswitching, quoting, play on words, slogans, slang abbreviations / netspeak and extralinguistic signs are the main linguistic trends of his personal branding. The research proves that Elon Musk’s personal brand is consistent, competitive and shows high resistance to the attacks of adversaries on its status and to various challenges that could undermine its authority. The paper traces how Elon Musk uses his Twitter account to present himself as a visionary for space colonization and robotization, a member of geek and meme communities, to reinforce his image of bold, charismatic and influential businessman, who appreciates real talent and does not distance himself from common people and popular culture. The study reveals Twitter to be a powerful branding source, as it has wide outreach, real-world repercussions and global significance.

Keywords: personal branding, social networks, Twitter, brandbuilding, brand promotion, brand boosting devices, linguistic devices and communicative trends.