Thanks, Elon, for rebranding Twitter to X

27/7/2023

It’s been a while that Twitter rots in public square town, sabotaged by its owner himself. Elon Musk’s latest great idea was to throw the “Twitter” brand away and rebrand the service as X. Yes, the letter X.

I was incredulous, as on many occasions since October 2022, when I heard about it. Today, I kinda like the change. It puts an end to the agonizing degradation of Twitter and helps to separate the legacy of a far from perfect company, but with its fair share of good ideas and intentions, from the absolutely chaos established by Musk.

The change is still ongoing, and this is also a huge mess. On Monday (24th), when it started, a crane stopped work halfway when it was dismantling the Twitter sign, at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco, because Musk had no license from the city hall to operate the machine.

The “X” brand, by the way, is already owned in the US, and not by a no-one: Microsoft has had the X brand for communication of its Xbox video game since 2003, and Meta, for an X in white and blue for areas that include software and social media.

Twitter’s rebranding has reached the service itself. The official handle, @Twitter, was exchanged for @X, which until Tuesday night (25th) was owned by photographer Gene X. Whang, who had had it for 16 years.

Whang got an email from Twitter, I mean, X, offering some swag (did not specify of which brand) and the opportunity to meet Musk’s gang. His new handle in the service is @x1234567998765.

Anyone who works in marketing, from first-year undergraduate students to the world’s greatest experts, will say that it’s crazy to retire a ubiquitous brand like Twitter.

“Tweet” became a verb, the Holy Grail of marketing.

This and other decisions by Musk are incomprehensible under rational arguments. It’s like he’s burning the USD 44 billion (which he didn’t have at hand) he paid for Twitter.

Is Musk crazy? I don’t think so. Or, at least, not for that reason. What is known is that he is a reactionary extremist who, before and after the acquisition of Twitter, has always disdained political agendas that were important to many people who use(d?) and made Twitter.

Seen through this lens, the acquisition of Twitter and the destruction to which it has subjected the company makes more sense. It’s, as Casey Newton put it in his newsletter, an act of cultural vandalism. In the eagerness to kill the “woke virus” (the kind of virus that people like Musk believe in), the billionaire is willing to kill the host. It’s already killed. RIP Twitter.

The official message, embraced by Linda Yaccarino, another crazy person who serves as fake CEO for Musk, the rebranding is the first step towards the creation of an “everything app” — social network, digital wallet, classifieds, job board.

This delusional promise is not new. Musk has been repeating it for a long time, inspired by the Chinese WeChat app. In the late 1990s, he tried something similar on PayPal, (bad) name X and everything else. Before being the richest person in the world and in a place where he did not hold 100% of the voting power, he was defeated.

Everyone dreams, even those who have everything that mere mortals dream of having. Dreams, however, are just dreams until they come true. Would anyone risk putting your credit card on a site that breaks every single day and is managed by a lunatic like Musk? Not me.

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