Bumbling social media exec Elon Musk says he's changed Twitter's name, which still has incredible brand recognition worldwide, to simply the letter "X."
That means we'll have to say goodbye to Twitter's blue bird logo and presumably the words "tweeting" and "retweeting" — a genuinely bizarre abdication of a near-universally recognizable brand to which he's already done immeasurable damage.
Musk made the decision in a series of tweets — or uh, whatever they're called now — over the weekend, seemingly bypassing the company's newly-minted CEO Linda Yaccarino, who only chimed in hours later.
"It’s an exceptionally rare thing — in life or in business — that you get a second chance to make another big impression," she wrote in a carefully-worded yet largely vacuous statement. "Twitter made one massive impression and changed the way we communicate. Now, X will go further, transforming the global town square."
But whether the new coat of paint — the logo went from its well-recognized blue to black — will encourage advertisers to come crawling back to the platform remains anything but certain.
Musk's efforts to rename Twitter shouldn't come as much of a surprise. The mercurial CEO's relationship with the letter X goes way back. In the late 1990s, Musk co-founded an online bank called X.com, which later merged with competitor Confinity. Later disagreements between him and other X.com executives led to his being ousted and replaced by Peter Thiel, who took over as CEO of X.com in 2000.
The company was eventually renamed PayPal and has seen massive successes in Musk's absence since.
In other words, it doesn't take much to see Musk's rebranding of Twitter as a spiteful effort to turn the text-based social media company into a WeChat-like competitor that allows users to exchange money, in the pursuit of a decades-old vision.
According to Yaccarino, the new X will be "centered in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking," and will become a "global marketplace for ideas, goods, services, and opportunities."
But to pull that off will be no easy feat. Given Twitter's rapidly sliding reputation under Musk's leadership, especially among advertisers, and Twitter's growing competition, the billionaire has many considerable uphill battles to fight in the upcoming months.
Twitter has already seen its fair share of bugs and server downtime ever since Musk took over, which makes one wonder if the company even has the technical know-how to turn it into a multi-modal "marketplace for ideas."
That's not to mention the connotations the letter X has on the internet. For instance, "Xvideos" started trending on the platform on Monday, a direct reference to a popular site that hosts porn videos.
That's unlikely to sit well with Twitter's — or, uh, X's — remaining advertisers, who have already complained about seeing their ads appear next to questionable content on the platform.
It's anybody's guess how all of this will play out. But given Musk's latest actions, one thing is for certain: Twitter, as we once knew it, is gone for good.
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