The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

May 4, 2013

Celebrities welcome Warren Buffett to Twitter

LOS ANGELES — The Oracle of Omaha has taken to Twitter.

The notoriously tech-shy billionaire launched his WarrenBuffett handle Thursday, where he quickly garnered more than 180,000 followers. He is the second-richest person with a verified Twitter account, after tech mogul Bill Gates (BillGates.)

His first tweet: “Warren is in the house.”

Twitter might be a perfect medium for Warren Buffett, who has built a reputation for a folksy approach to investing.

But it’s also a surprising move given that he’s not exactly the most tech-savvy person on the planet. He still doesn’t have a computer on his desk inside the Omaha headquarters of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Early on, Buffett was gaining about 1,000 new followers a minute but as of Thursday evening was following nobody - not even his good friend Gates. There are dozens of fake Warren Buffett accounts on Twitter.

Gates gave his friend and fellow bridge player a shout-out: “Welcome to Twitter WarrenBuffett. First ever Twitter bridge tourney starts now. I bid 3 hearts.” He attached a picture of the two of them at a bridge tournament.

President Clinton, who joined Twitter just last month, also posted a personal message. “WarrenBuffett Welcome to Twitter. What took you so long?” Clinton’s former senior advisor George Stephanopoulos got in on the act: “Big twitter welcome to the ’Oracle of Omaha.’”

Comedian Rainn Wilson directed a few messages Buffett’s way too. “You should sell all your stocks and see what happens,” tweeted Wilson, who stars on “The Office.” A follow-up tweet added: “I would dress you like a little toy soldier if I had a doll of you. Just FYI.”

Expect more tweets from Buffett this weekend when thousands of investors flock to Omaha for the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting. The event, nicknamed the Woodstock of Capitalism, will be held at the CenturyLink Center.

By Thursday evening, the 82-year-old Buffett had one other tweet. He got right down to business with a little self-promotion, pointing followers to an essay he wrote for Fortune magazine about women in the workplace.

The essay made the economic and ethical case for expanding opportunities for women. He argued that women are the key to America’s economic prosperity.

In his essay, Buffett recalls his friendship with the late Katharine Graham, who was chief executive of Washington Post Co.

“I met Kay in 1973 and quickly saw that she was a person of unusual ability and character,” Buffett wrote. “But the gender-related self-doubt was certainly there too.”

Washington Post thrived under Graham, Buffett said. Since then the corporate landscape for women has changed, but more can be done, he argued.

In the essay, Buffett challenged male executives to think about how women can boost productivity.

“So, my fellow males, what’s in this for us?” he wrote. “If obvious benefits flow from helping the male component of the workforce achieve its potential, why in the world wouldn’t you want to include its counterpart?”

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