Elon Musk Renames Twitter to X

Ryan Mac and Tiffany Hsu, reporting for The New York Times:

The tech billionaire, who bought Twitter last year, renamed the social platform X.com on its website and started replacing the bird logo with a stylized version of the 24th letter of the Latin alphabet. Inside Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco, X logos were projected in the cafeteria, while conference rooms were renamed to words with X in them, including “eXposure,” “eXult” and “s3Xy,” according to photos seen by The New York Times.

This is why Tesla’s vehicles are the models S, 3, X, and Y, and listed in that order on the company’s website. It’s like the arrow in the FedEx logo but for 12-year-old boys.

Mr. Musk had long said he might make the name change, but he hastened the process in a tweet early Sunday when he declared that “soon we shall bid adieu to the twitter brand and, gradually, all the birds.” He has said he hopes to turn Twitter into an “everything app” called X, which would encompass not only social networking but also banking and shopping.

Early on Monday, Mr. Musk also shared a photo of a giant X projected on Twitter’s San Francisco office building with the caption: “Our headquarters tonight.”

I hate* to say “I told you so”, but I predicted this exact name change back on May 1. As I wrote when I reiterated this prediction a few weeks later:

The fact that he largely refers to it now as “this platform” makes me think he’s going to rename it X sooner rather than later. Seems crazy to me to throw away the Twitter brand name though, so maybe “X” will just be to Twitter what “Meta” is to Facebook and “Alphabet” is to Google. But also: Musk does crazy things. Throwing away the entire Twitter brand would be less crazy than his buying it in the first place.

The Times piece quotes a branding expert who says the obvious, that the verbification of a brand name is exceedingly rare and exceptionally valuable. When people post to Twitter they tweet. The things they tweet are tweets. Everyone — even people who’ve never once used Twitter, knows what tweet means. And now Musk thinks they’ll be called “x’s”?

Despite the fact that Musk has clearly been moving toward this name change for months — if not since before he even proposed buying the company — the changeover has been utterly (but predictably) slapdash. The new logo, which Musk claims is “interim”, is simply the Unicode character “𝕏” (U+1D54F, MATHEMATICAL DOUBLE-STRUCK CAPITAL X). The company tried replacing the sign on its San Francisco headquarters today but work was halted with the signage only partially dismantled over confusion as to whether the company had a work permit. Neither the iOS nor Android app has been updated, and even the company’s website still says “Twitter” just about everywhere.

* Where by hate I of course mean love, and I’ve been insufferably parading my Being Right Point™ for this prediction all weekend.

Monday, 24 July 2023