Twitter's iconic blue bird has been officially replaced with an "X." But does it have the X-Factor?
Photo by Kristi Hines
Elon Musk's daring rebranding move has commanded the internet's spotlight in a twist that has left the world in awe. However, deciding to bid a fond farewell to the iconic blue bird was no sudden revelation. Discussions of this shift had been circulating well before the gazillionaire's monumental $44 billion acquisition of Twitter.
What's the deal with the X?
Musk had a light-bulb moment during his first meeting with Twitter employees and passionately shared his vision for Twitter's future: to propel the platform's user base to an astonishing one billion users. Attempting to recreate an American WeChat, Musk highlighted the need for Twitter's evolution into an intricate powerhouse that combines messaging, social media, shopping, and mobile payments — all in one transformative package: X.com.
"There's no WeChat equivalent outside of China... you basically live on WeChat in China. If we can recreate that with Twitter, we'll be a great success" - Elon Musk
Amidst his plans to revamp Twitter into an all-encompassing "everything app," Musk set an audacious, and quite frankly beyond belief, goal to position X.com as the largest financial institution in the world. However, I do have to point out that in that same first meeting, Musk outlandishly talked about the possibility of alien life. Details of the new financial world haven't been discussed yet.
Musk's admiration towards the letter X is clear-cut. The 52-year-old has recently released xAi, an artificial intelligence startup, alongside his renowned rocket company, Space X. But, this fondness towards the letter is anything but new. Musk brought forth X.com for the first time back in 1999, which at the time, was an innovative online banking site attempting to rewrite the rules. Offering an exciting $20 incentive to potential clients, Musk, as the company's chief executive, promised no interest fees or penalties, sparking a surge in the number of users. Users surpassed 200,000, albeit with a few malicious scammers seeking their way into account fraud.
Is X.com headed for failure?
It seems so. One way or another, Musk clearly wants X.com to work. I understand the need to validate the status quo; however, choosing to completely overhaul a distinct and enduring brand — after 17 years of dedicated work is an entirely different, slightly reckless approach. Even more so dangerous is attempting to mimic China'a WeChat success story within the American landscape. There's a reason there isn't a platform like WeChat in the U.S.: they are two entirely different markets.
Another pivotal concern arises from transforming one of the most popular social media platforms that evoke association with adult content (in simple and honest words: x.com sounds like a porn site). This raises significant questions about the wisdom of such a strategic shift.
The timing is intriguing: Musk's Twitter rebranding closely followed Zuckerberg's Threads launch (likely not a coincidence, considering the ongoing digital rivalry between these tech moguls). It is possible that Musk is realizing his limitations in running the social media world and is leaning towards a new direction that aligns more closely with his perceived strengths: the realm of digital payments.
The success of Musk's soon-to-be financial powerhouse remains unclear, but a critical element to consider when it comes to financial ventures is that they depend on trust. That's a long journey ahead for Musk.
Let's look at some viral, hilarious tweets for now (or, are they called X's now?).