LONDON: He has got a wedding to plan, but Rupert Murdoch remains a committed tweeter. So far in 2016, the media mogul has issued 140-character opinions on space flight, Iran and the US presidential campaign.
But despite his enthusiasm for Twitter, and its stock hitting an all-time low last week, the acquisitive octogenarian is not buying. When the shares spiked on Wednesday on rumours of a News Corp bid, the publisher swiftly and emphatically denied it.
There is now scarcely a big company involved in digital media that has not been linked to a potential bid for Twitter, as its growth has slowed to a crawl and the company's share price has plunged by almost two thirds in less than a year. At one time or another, Apple, Facebook and, most persistently, Google have all been suggested as potential acquirers of the struggling micro-blogging network.
The News Corp rumour and denial was just one incident in a chaotic week that also included a massive technical failure that left the service inaccessible for hours across Europe. Its predicament fuelled debate about whether and how Twitter and Jack Dorsey, the co-founder who recently returned as chief executive, can turn around its fortunes.
He is not short of advice. Diagnosing the causes for Twitter's malaise and prescribing its cure have become a parlour game for the tech industry. Medium, the current blogging service of choice for the Silicon Valley set, is awash with postings named things like "Re-imagining Twitter", "I used to be a Twitter addict" and "What I would do as CEO of Twitter".
Despite the free tips, Dorsey is off to a rough start. After a brief rally, when his appointment was confirmed in October, Twitter's sharp fall has continued.
The 38pc share price plunge since his return, combined with a parallel decline at Square, the mobile payments company where he is also chief executive, has even seen him briefly relegated from billionairedom to the ranks of the merely extremely wealthy.
Dorsey had been hailed as Twitter's returning hero. Following the exit of Dick Costolo in June, the company was left without a permanent replacement for several months.
The vacuum and consequent instability prompted Chris Sacca, an early and vocal investor, to mount a public campaign to restore Dorsey to the top job. He had been in charge before, but was fired back in 2008 following clashes with the board over his extracurricular interests in drawing, yoga and high-profile socialising.
Sacca, a venture capitalist and panellist on Shark Tank, the US equivalent of Dragon's Den, took to Twitter to call for Dorsey's return, saying he was "the heart and soul" of the company and would "take them to the next level".
The campaign was a success, eventually attracting support from Ev Williams, another Twitter co-founder, board member and major shareholder, who had replaced Dorsey as chief executive.
He buried the hatchet with Dorsey in a blog post, saying: "I'm confident this is exactly what Twitter needs at this time. I can't wait to see what happens now."
The first thing to happen was a round of redundancies. Dorsey laid off 8pc of Twitter staff - 336 employees -as he sought to inject impetus into the company's engineering and product development efforts.
It was a big step for a Silicon Valley company that had always sold itself as a growth story, even as the evidence mounted that Twitter was not following the Google or Facebook trajectory of untrammelled expansion.
Indeed, for well over a year now, it has been apparent that Twitter has a serious problem with a lack of growth. Its last set of results, published a few weeks after Dorsey's return immediately after the lay-offs, revealed that it recruited only four million active users in the third quarter, to take its total to 320 million.
Twitter has been reaping the thin harvest of its failure to expand its user base beyond a core audience of politics, sport and celebrity junkies, says Ian Maude of the digital marketing company Be Heard.
There was a time before its stock market flotation in 2013 when executives would talk bullishly of competing with Facebook for global scale. But while Mark Zuckerberg's juggernaut has powered ahead beyond 1.5bn active users, Twitter has virtually stalled and there is now no contest.
On top of its struggle to attract new tweeters, there are signs the company's existing user base, in which an active user is defined as someone who logs in as rarely as once a month, is losing interest.
"Engagement trends are moving against advertising opportunity too, as average time spent per mobile user is falling... and at an accelerating rate," Morgan Stanley has told clients.
The drop off is reflected in Twitter's finances. In the last quarter its revenues were up 58pc year on year, but it represented a sharp slowdown. The previous year sales for the period more than doubled. The company also slashed its earnings forecasts for the fourth quarter by as much as a third, triggering the sell off that led to last week's share price nadir.
Wall Street analysts rushed to downgrade Twitter, no longer able to justify its lofty price to earnings ratio. Such a high valuation could only be sustained by strong growth, and Twitter would not deliver it.
Dorsey has sought to boost engagement and attract new users by centring investment on video, with Twitter's short clips service Vine and its live streaming app Periscope becoming focuses for investment. But there has been little sign of new ideas to address the central problem that in a digital media world where users are counted in their billions, Twitter is a niche player.
The scale of its challenge of breaking out beyond its core audience was demonstrated recently when Twitter floated the idea that it could increase the 140-character limit on tweets to 10,000 to allow more in-depth postings. The suggestion prompted an outcry from users, who see the service's brevity as essential to its usefulness.
To them, allowing longer and more indulgent postings would turn Twitter into a pale imitation of Facebook. Some of the company's investors do not think that would be so bad, if it would mean a taste of Facebook's success. Dorsey says the idea is still being explored.
Another fundamental feature of Twitter is also seen as a barrier to its growth. Hardcore tweeters love the way it requires them to manage their own feed by following people they are interested in, but for the more casually interested the effort required can be onerous.
"Loads of people try Twitter briefly, don't find it interesting or too much like hard work, and disappear," says Maude. "They've got to make it much easier to find something interesting, but we have known that for a long time and they haven't managed it."
Dorsey is battling to get on the front foot at the same time as Twitter's rivals are mounting attacks on its strong points. Facebook last week launched a new feature, Sports Stadium, designed to compete with Twitter as a hub for following discussion of American football in real time. It is very early days for the push, but is seen as a real threat to territory Twitter has long regarded as its own.
In such difficult circumstances, it is little wonder that the company's investors got excited when Murdoch was rumoured to be looking at a bid for their asset, still valued at nearly $12bn.
Currently facing massive challenges as an independent digital player, Dorsey and Twitter's users can at least console themselves in the knowledge that the one major social network News Corp bought was a disaster called MySpace.