Elon Musk has long been in love with the letter X.
Now he is kill the twitter brand and the iconic blue bird in favor of X as part of an effort to turn its $44 billion acquisition into something that truly belongs to it.
Musk’s vision for X is akin to China’s WeChat, a super app people can use to entertain themselves and buy goods and services online, in addition to posting updates and messaging friends. But the rebranding comes after months of erratic behavior by the world’s richest person, which has put off users and advertisers rebuffedleaving Twitter in dire financial straits and increasingly vulnerable to competition.
Musk has “single-handedly wiped out over fifteen years of a brand name that has secured its place in our cultural lexicon,” Proulx said in an email.
A company spokesperson did not comment on this story.
It’s not entirely a surprising decision. Musk had previously converted Twitter’s corporate name to X Corp, which itself is a subsidiary of X Holding Corp, as revealed in an April filing in court. Musk said last October, just before it bought Twitter, that it viewed the $44 billion deal as “an accelerator for the creation of X, the application of everything.”
The letter X features prominently in the name of Musk’s rocket company, SpaceX. And more than two decades ago, X.com was the name of Musk’s payments company that eventually became PayPal through a merger with a then-rival.
Name changes have become quite common among reputable web companies. Facebook has become Meta In end of 2021and Google adopted the Alphabet nickname six years ago. However, in these cases, the newly named parent companies retained the branding of their core services, so that Facebook users and Google searchers could continue to do their work uninterrupted.
Musk seems to be betting he can get rid of Twitter altogether. Over the weekend, he showed off the new X logo and said in a tweet that “we’ll soon be saying goodbye to the Twitter brand and gradually all the birds.”
Linda Yaccarino, whom Musk hired as CEO in May, said in a email to employees Monday that the company “will continue to delight our entire community with new experiences across audio, video, messaging, payments, banking – creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services and opportunities.”
Completing this mission is easier said than done.
Musk’s desire to turn X into a super app requires “time, money, and people,” which Twitter “no longer has,” Proulx said. Earlier this month, Musk said that Twitter has suffered a 50% drop in ad revenue and needs to “achieve positive cash flow before we have the luxury of anything else”.
Some advertisers had raised concerns about promoting their products on Twitter due to reports showing an increase in racist and offensive hate speech and comments on the platform as documented by several civil rights groups and researchers.
Musk tried to offset some advertising decline with a premium subscription service. But at $8 a month, the company would need tens of millions of subscribers to make up for the losses.
Advertisers remaining on the platform must now adopt a new jargon. Individuals and businesses around the world know Twitter messages as “tweets”. Like Kleenex, Twitter was able to develop a recognizable brand that was instantly familiar to consumers, an achievement any corporate marketing team would celebrate.
Ralph Schackart, an analyst at William Blair, told CNBC last week that his analyst team “didn’t take anything back” from advertisers interviewed in a recent investigation in the digital advertising market, which would indicate that these companies have increased their spending on Twitter. Meanwhile, there are signs that the overall digital advertising market could improve, according to the William Blair survey.
Insider Intelligence analyst Jasmine Enberg said in an emailed statement that the name change marks “a dark day for many Twitter users and advertisers” and a “clear signal that the Twitter of 17 years is gone and will not return.”
“Twitter’s renaming is a reminder that Elon Musk, and not Threads or any other app, is and always has been the most likely ‘Twitter killer,'” Enberg wrote.