After 17 years, Larry T Bird (the actual name of the Twitter bird) has flown the coop. The legendary logo is gone, and the iconic Twitter name has been replaced by the letter X. It’s a profound shock to some 400 million Twitter users and the rest of the non-Twitter universe, too.
First, Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion, and experts said he paid too much. They say it was way overvalued and he paid $10 billion more than it was worth – small change for the richest man in the world who’s currently worth over $239 billion.
No problem. He bought Twitter and shook the place up. He uncovered massive censorship and coverups with the “Twitter Files,” exposing how the FBI rigged the 2020 election with the previous management.
Then he implemented programs like Twitter Blue – with edit buttons, and Silver and Gold Ticks that verify celebrities from the fakes. He added video sharing and increased the character limit from 280 to 4000 – so you could even write an essay. It wasn’t enough.
Now, it’s bye bye birdie. Musk just changed the name Twitter to X. He x-ed out the bird logo and replaced it with the 24th letter of the alphabet. The $44 billion question is – why?
Musk explained the move in a “tweet” saying, “The Twitter name made sense when it was just 140 character messages going back and forth – like birds tweeting – but now you can post almost anything, including several hours of video.”
Was this a smart move?
Was it premature? Was it even necessary? Elon Musk explained that it’s more than just a name change. Instead, it represents his plans to create an “everything app.”
“Twitter was acquired by X Corp both to ensure freedom of speech and as an accelerant for X, the everything app. This is not simply a company renaming itself but doing the same thing.
“In the months to come, we will add comprehensive communications and the ability to conduct your entire financial world. The Twitter name does not make sense in that context, so we must bid adieu to the bird.”
Musk has been infatuated with the letter X for years. Tesla makes a Model X, his rocket company is called SpaceX and X is the name of his son with the singer Grimes. He compared his ambitions for Twitter with the vision he had for another operation back in 1999 called X.com, a finance company that ultimately became PayPal.
Business analysts say undoing years of branding behind Twitter’s blue bird is very risky. Already, Twitter has struggled to retain advertisers as Musk’s changes to the site have led some to fear it’s not a safe place for brands to market.
Esther Crawford, a former top Twitter executive, told CNBC that Elon Musk lives inside an “echo chamber” and that she is “surprised by his willingness to burn so much down,” as she alternated between defending and criticizing Musk in a lengthy post on the billionaire’s social media network.
What are Musk’s chances of success?
The Washington Post says it’s hard to judge, based on the scarcity of concrete plans or strategy detailed by the company. The evidence suggests that Musk’s push to rebrand was an impromptu decision over the weekend of July 22, with the new logo being the product of a 24-hour crowdsourcing effort among Musk’s Twitter followers.
The strength of his personal brand and the hundreds of millions of active Twitter/X users should not be taken lightly, but initially at least, the X project was too immature to fairly assess. The envisioned X app will connect Twitter’s underlying infrastructure with X.com, a web address that for now was redirecting to Twitter.
Will the Twitterati or “tweeps” accept his new vision? Are you going to still be able to “tweet” someone or will you have to “X” them?
This brilliant, eccentric man who works 16 hours a day has made mistakes in the past – of course – but his successes far outweigh his failures. Even though the sudden Twitter name change comes as a shock, we believe it will ultimately be another win for the richest man in the world.
And if it bombs, so what? Elon Musk will probably be living on Mars by then.