You read that right, Twitter will stop being Twitter and will instead become X. The question on everyone’s mind is “Why?” though.
Well, I aim to answer that question exhaustively in this article. I’ll explore the likeliest reasons for why Elon Musk axed off the Blue Bird’s head only to replace it with an X (figuratively speaking).
But first, a few details about the future X, ex-Twitter:
- It will be backed by artificial intelligence
- It will cover audio, messaging, video, marketplaces, and banking/payments
- It wants to be a super app or an “everything” app
- The domain name will be X.com, which already leads to Twitter
- Posts will be called “xes” instead of “tweets“
If you’re paying attention, I’ve already briefly mentioned one of the reasons for Twitter’s rebranding. I’ll go into more details below!
1. To Make an Everything App
After buying Twitter, Musk publicly stated that “Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app.” So, Twitter’s rebranding to X is not so much a surprise but a given at this point.
He wants to expand Twitter’s service offerings to more than just text and video messages and DMs. He admitted to being inspired by WeChat, the Chinese behemoth social media platform.
While I don’t know which elements of WeChat Musk was referring to, I can give you a list of what WeChat users are able to do through the platform:
- Video chatting
- Food delivery services
- Photo sharing
- Location sharing
- Broadcast messaging
- Paying the bills
- Calling a cab
- Reading novels
WeChat is an all-in-one platform that lets users do almost whatever they want or need. It seems that Musk wants to copy this recipe to the Western world via X.
His idea isn’t bad at all since there is no WeChat alternative in the West. The question is – is it a good idea to turn Twitter into such an app instead of building one from scratch?
Matt Navarra, a social media consultant, told Business Insider that turning Twitter into such an app wouldn’t make much sense and it might hurt its user base.
During one of Tesla’s annual shareholder meetings, Musk said that he had a “grander vision for what I thought X Corporation could have been back in the day. It’s a pretty grand vision and of course, that could be started from scratch but I think Twitter would accelerate that by three to five years.“
We also know that Musk bought the X.com domain back in 2017 and he originally wanted to turn it into a rival to Twitter.
So, we can safely assume that Musk was sitting on the idea of X long before acquiring Twitter. The acquisition simply sped up his master plan.
But… will an everything app catch in the West as it did in China?
Personally, I don’t see why it wouldn’t. Imagine doing your banking, ordering food, shopping, holding work conferences, and paying your bills from one single app. That app would become the most used app in the West.
Of course, there are notable risks to this, mainly:
- Security – If your account is breached, the hacker will have access to all your personal and professional life, including banking account information
- Estranging the old user base – Twitter already has a well-established user base. Rebranding the platform and changing the way it works might lead to an exodus among users
I think this reason for the rebranding is worth consideration. But what about…
2. To Wash Away Twitter’s Bad Rep
To be honest, ever since Musk acquired Twitter, how did things work out for the company?
Because in my experience, Twitter under Musk’s rule went from bad to worse in some of the stupidest ways imaginable.
Here are a few examples:
- Musk fired important content moderation members of Twitter, eliminating some content moderation rules and reversing the ban on Covid-19 misinformation
- He banned a couple of tech journalists for no good reason
- He implemented the Twitter Blue subscription, meaning that anyone with money would suddenly become “a trustworthy and credible source of information“
- He unbanned controversial figures like Kanye West only to ban them again
- He tweets the most idiotic and immature things ever (Musk vs. Zuckerberg cage match or penis measurement contest)
- He inadvertently contributed to a wave of massive misinformation on Twitter
- He inadvertently determined ad companies to avoid Twitter like the plague
- He created a system so that his tweets are given priority and are seen first. This was caused by his frustration that Biden’s tweet about the Philadelphia Eagles got more views than his, which prompted him to delete his own tweet
Alright, you get the idea. Twitter is arguably in a much worse situation than before Musk’s acquisition. He keeps tweeting gibberish to this day on the platform.
I’m dead sure that part of the reason for Twitter’s rebranding to X is to wash away all this bad reputation and get a fresh start. As fresh as a rotting bird can get…
Musk isn’t the first to do this either. Mark Zuckerberg’s rebranding of Facebook to Meta follows the same pattern.
He had to play this move to remove the flak from all the privacy violations that Facebook had been accused of. A move that, more or less, played out just fine.
So, it’s not unexpected that Musk plans on doing the same. It’s a well-known strategy of hiding the corpse in the closet and pretending that nothing happened.
Sometimes it works, sometimes the stench is too strong.
Given Musk’s charisma and vision for the everything-app X, it should play out fine for him. Or not. It’s still Musk we’re talking about…
That would probably be Musk’s off-hand remark when asked about his name choice for Twitter 2.0.
Musk’s obsession with the letter X is already history, though. Think about it:
- In 1999, He founded X.com, an online bank which then merged with another company to become PayPal
- He rebought the X.com domain in 2017 from PayPal
- He built SpaceX
- There’s also the Tesla Model X
- He recently launched an AI startup called xAI
- His first child with Grimes is named X Æ A-12 Musk (pronounced Ex Ash A Twelve)
That last one shouldn’t have caught me by surprise but if it did, then all I can say is welcome to Musk’s eccentricity.
A more pragmatic explanation of why he chose X is because it represents the “unknown variable“, as Grime once put it in a tweet.
X could mean anything, which is the idea behind Twitter 2.0. Since it will be an everything app, X could stand for anything a user wants – banking, transport, food, communication, socializing, etc.
It might as well stand for Musk’s chaotic leadership and how anything could happen at any time.
Will Twitter be better off or worse when it fully transitions to X? I don’t know. There are reasons that support both hypotheses but it remains to be seen.
I’ll be there to cover every bit of it, though. Stay tuned!
- Spiceworks – Twitter Rebrands Itself While Competitor Threads Flounders
- Business Insider – Elon Musk’s Plan to Turn Twitter Into a Super App is a Step Closer Now that He Owns the Platform
- Twitter Musk Post About a Cage Match
- Twitter Musk Post About a Penis Measuring Contest
- Twitter Grimes Post About the Explanation of X