Elon Musk is trying to transform Twitter into an “everything app” and has undertaken a rebranding initiative, renaming it “X.”
The Tesla CEO recently unveiled this change, revealing that his X.com website now directs users to twitter.com. He also indicated that in the near future, the Twitter brand and its iconic blue bird logo will be phased out completely.
Why has Twitter rebranded to X?
Since Mr Musk purchased Twitter for $44bn in 2022, he has already renamed its parent company X Corp. The billionaire has previously spoken of his plans to create a “super app” like China’s WeChat.
He also has a long fascination with the letter X. The financial services company he founded in 1999 that ultimately became PayPal started out as X.com. His son with former partner, music artist Grimes, is named X Æ A-Xii – or X for short. His aeronautics company is also named SpaceX.
It appears the new X logo is just an interim, going by Mr Musk’s tweets. He crowdsourced it, calling for design submissions from users.
A man named Sawyer Merritt posted the image of the selected logo, saying a version of it was the logo of his discontinued podcast and designed by Alex Tourville. “Anyway, do whatever you want with it,” he wrote.
Mr Tourville also chimed in with the correct logo, saying Mr Musk “can have it for free”.
Mike Proulx, research director at Forrester, told the Reuters news agency the move would further alienate Twitter’s original, and once fiercely loyal, user base.
“On the one hand, you can make the argument he would be getting rid of an iconic brand. On the other hand, he is signalling it is a new day for what was once Twitter and that the company is heading in a different direction with a different user base,” he said.
What does Elon Musk want X to become?
Mr Musk wants to transform Twitter into “the future state of unlimited interactivity – centered in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking – creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services, and opportunities”, according to the company’s new CEO, Linda Yaccarino.
Essentially, Twitter wants to become an app that can do far more than it ever has previously.
She tweeted after the change: “It’s an exceptionally rare thing – in life or in business – that you get a second chance to make another big impression. Twitter made one massive impression and changed the way we communicate. Now, X will go further, transforming the global town square.
“For years, fans and critics alike have pushed Twitter to dream bigger, to innovate faster, and to fulfil our great potential. X will do that and more. We’ve already started to see X take shape over the past eight months through our rapid feature launches, but we’re just getting started.”
In China, WeChat is able to support everything from online food orders to bank transfers. It can be used to book flights and watch films and TV shows.
Mr Musk is hoping Twitter can become something similar. Whether he will be able to succeed in creating such an internet monolith is a very different matter.