Teetering on the edge of July 22nd and 23rd, Elon Musk took to his latest acquisition, Twitter, to discuss its future. In a series of tweets, he told users of the platform they should expect some big changes, “And soon we shall bid adieu to the twitter brand and, gradually, all the birds… If a good enough X logo is posted tonight, we’ll make go live worldwide tomorrow.”
The decision to go to “X” as a name has left numerous users very worried about the future of Twitter, and many believe that this could put a nail in the coffin for the company. With Musk also discussing making the app black as a standard color, many caution against making that color the focus. One user reminded Musk that when blue was chosen for Twitter, it was likely because blue is a color that represents trust and honesty to people; hence blue check verified.
Before the announcements, Musk asked users via Twitter polls about what they thought of making changes, with 75% of users agreeing with him that it was time for a change. As thousands of response tweets and re-tweets with their thoughts poured out, people were cautioning Musk about too much change at once. His responses about embracing our imperfections and making them part of us (akin to Wabi-sabi in Japan) seemed to calm many users.
Using X as a brand name or focal point is something Musk has been doing for ages. Back in the late 1990s, he had an online bank at X.com, which then morphed into PayPal in 2000 following a merger. In 2017 he purchased the web domain back from the company, and at the time of writing, it re-directs people back to Twitter. The 2002 launching of SpaceX also plays a nod to the letter, although on official documents, it’s part of the name “Space Exploration Technologies Company.”
Making these kinds of changes is something that most corporations need to go to a board to get approval for. Not at Twitter. As CEO and Tech King, the man is fully in control of the company, win, lose, or draw. He can completely tank the venture into the abyss, and the only thing people around the world can do is complain about it. He could choose to shut down the servers or make it a subscription-only service. Again, totally his choice.
Since taking it over, he has made the infamous blue check available to those willing to pay the monthly fee for it. Meta (owners of Facebook and Instagram) followed suit. This is a move that has left people like AOC distraught. In their minds, the blue check was only for the top people in their fields and for politicians.
By making it so people had to pay a significant chunk of change or have a certain number of followers to get verified, Twitter had found a way to recoup the money the platform lost since Musk took it over.
Numerous advertisers left the platform after the news of Musk’s acquisition broke. Many thought that people would abandon the platform, especially with so many celebrities who hated the idea of someone as conservative as Musk owning the social media giant.
While many of these advertisers were right, they were only right to a degree. For as many celebrities who abandoned the app, the vast majority still stayed. They might have slowed down how often they post, and they may not have shared as much as before, but they are still there and posting often. With the ongoing Writers and Actors strike in Hollywood, Twitter has been a big thing for them to organize.
No matter what it’s called, Twitter, X, or some other random name that Musk or his Twitter users come up with, the platform is here to stay. Thankfully, if he does choose X as the new name, the branding, marketing campaigns, and awareness with X will be infinitely easier to generate than Twitter was.