Unveiling the Future: Twitter's Rebranding Journey Explained

So, Twitter, as we knew it, has undergone a transformation, driven by Elon Musk and his team. They have decided to replace the iconic bird logo throughout the app with a Unicode X, which now serves as the new logo for their re-imagined X app.

Considering this significant shift, what implications does it have for your strategy? How will this impact the terminology used for tweets, and what can we expect moving forward?

Let's delve into the key questions surrounding the re-imagining of tweets, aligning with Elon's longstanding vision.

From X.com to X: Elon Musk's Vision for an All-in-One App

The origins of X can be traced back to the late nineties when Elon Musk was first making a name for himself as the founder of a payments start-up. The company was initially named X.com, a name that Elon advocated even after his company was acquired by PayPal. His grand vision was to create a payments and banking backbone for a more extensive website that would facilitate various transactions, using simplified funds transfer as the starting point.

The concept behind X.com was akin to the way Chinese web users interacted through WeChat, where all banking processes were integrated into one platform, making it more convenient for users to shop, pay bills, order food, and more. The idea was that by consolidating all financial activities within a single app, it would naturally lead to growth in other payment opportunities, similar to how WeChat became a critical connector for over a billion Chinese users.

At the time, this concept was revolutionary, and Elon aimed to expand PayPal beyond its eventual scope and create a dominant super app. However, this plan never materialized as Elon left PayPal to focus on other projects, and his X idea was put on hold. Until recently, when he purchased Twitter, Elon rekindled his aspirations of creating an 'everything app.'

Now, Musk claims that Twitter, with its 252 million users, acts as an 'accelerant to X,' leveraging the network effects and popularity of the app to branch out into expanded elements.

Whether this plan remains as viable in 2023 as it was in 1999 is not entirely clear, but this is the thinking and reasoning behind the name change to X for the app.

Upcoming Changes to the App

Currently, it appears that Twitter is undergoing a transition where all of the bird icons in the app are being replaced with the new X logo. Interestingly, this logo was effectively commissioned by Musk from a Twitter user during the past weekend.


After reviewing a wide array of user-submitted concepts for the new X icon, Musk eventually made his selection and promptly set his team in motion to update the app. Consequently, the X icon is now making appearances in various elements, though most still retain references to Twitter, tweeting, and tweets to some extent.

Given the vast number of such references, the complete rebranding of Twitter is an undertaking that will require significant time and effort. Musk has also hinted at an upcoming update that will transform the app's default color base from the familiar Twitter blue to a bold black. While this move could help create a fresh start and distinguish the app from its past, it risks erasing years of brand equity that Twitter has painstakingly built.

Despite concerns raised by many analysts regarding the potential impacts on the business, Elon Musk remains undeterred and determined to go about things in his own unique way. He even shrugged off the notion that he might need to enlist brand consultants to guide the app's branding transition. Musk's approach continues to be driven by his vision and desire for transformation, even if it means taking unconventional steps along the way.

Elon Musk's daring approach of charging ahead with decisions and dealing with the consequences at a later stage might potentially lead to significant headaches for the X team. While his boldness and willingness to take risks can be commendable, it also poses the risk of encountering unforeseen challenges and difficulties down the road. The urgency to transform the app and differentiate it from its past could result in issues that the X team may need to address, which could have been mitigated with a more cautious and strategic approach. Nonetheless, Musk's determination to forge a new path remains unwavering, and he seems ready to face whatever challenges arise as a result of his unconventional methods.

How long will the rebranding take?

It appears that the process of officially changing the name of the newly named entity is proving to be more time-consuming than initially anticipated. The company is currently facing challenges related to trademarks and other requirements that need to be addressed before the new name can be fully adopted.

In Japan, a crucial market for the company, the chosen name, let's call it "X," coincides with the name of a well-known rock band that holds the rights and trademarks to the title for most commercial purposes. This situation could complicate the rebranding efforts significantly. Such situations are usually more concerning when the two entities operate in similar markets, but even in terms of brand usage, it might hinder the new "X" app from gaining necessary approvals.

Adding to the complexity, both Microsoft and Meta also possess different trademarks associated with the letter 'X' for various products. This could potentially interfere with some of Musk's plans for the company and impose further limitations on its usage.

Interestingly, Twitter, the platform the company is trying to rebrand on, hasn't made an attempt to acquire the actual @x handle within the app. Currently, this handle is still under the control of another user, which might present additional challenges or considerations for the company's rebranding strategy.

The ongoing Microsoft/Meta case presents a significant challenge, particularly due to Musk's recent public exchanges with Meta's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. Meta's X trademark is specifically related to streaming content, messaging, and chat rooms, making it a potential point of contention in the legal proceedings. As the X icon is commonly used in various online contexts, enforcing Meta's rights and preventing misuse by Musk and his team may require several legal determinations.

Meta's strong legal stance could complicate Twitter's re-branding efforts and potentially delay the already messy roll-out. Rewriting contracts, renegotiating existing deals, and clarifying legal language are additional complexities that arose when Musk officially changed Twitter's parent company's name to X Corp in April.

Despite the name change, claiming that 'Twitter' no longer exists to sidestep legal complications is unlikely to hold up in court. Such an argument would likely be challenged and disregarded in the cases brought against the organization.

Amidst these legal and logistical challenges, it is possible that some bird-related references might still persist in the app during the transition process. The broader changes and complexities surrounding the re-branding and legal aspects could add further difficulties to the situation.

The Twitter Re-Brand: What Do We Call Tweets Now?

According to Elon Musk:

Not convinced that this will catch on, as there doesn't seem to be a real extension of that concept that could be applied to re-tweets or any of the other verbs and adverbs commonly used on Twitter.

This presents another challenge for Twitter – users will bring their own expectations and lingo to the app, and simply changing the icon and name won't easily alter that.

However, Elon Musk remains confident that user habits will shift as the new branding gradually takes effect. So, get used to posting x's and re-exing those x's in the X app. Or something along those lines.

Elon's Ambitious Plan for X: Will It Really Work?

In recent years, numerous social media platforms and apps have attempted to integrate payments and shopping functionalities with limited success. Regulatory limitations, lack of user interest, and flawed system integrations have been significant obstacles to achieving this goal. Regional governments have been cautious about granting approvals for such features due to safety concerns, pressure from influential industry groups, rising rates of online fraud, and other related issues.

Even a major player like Meta (formerly Facebook) has faced significant pushback and challenges in its efforts to facilitate universal payments over the years. Given the increasing divisiveness surrounding Elon Musk as a political figure and his vested interests in multiple industries, it is doubtful that he will receive easy authorization from regulatory authorities for his payment push through X.

Furthermore, the Western audience has not shown considerable interest in in-app shopping and payments, unlike Asian markets where such trends have been transformative. This disparity could be attributed to the enhanced government control and tight regulations over financial markets in countries like China, making consumers more comfortable with in-app transactions overseen by established banking providers. In contrast, Musk's plan for a separate transactional system might be perceived as too risky by regulators and less trustworthy by consumers, especially following the recent collapse of the broader cryptocurrency sector.

While it is possible that such payment processes could gain acceptance over time, the plan for X remains vague and lacks a clear transformative vision. Musk and X CEO Linda Yaccarino assert that X will facilitate payments and banking, but the rationale behind why every type of transaction will happen on the platform is unclear.

Several other existing methods already facilitate transactions, making it challenging to see how X will revolutionize this aspect. Twitter's future remains uncertain as it transitions into a new era, and the direction it will take is unknown.

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