Twitter owner Elon Musk said overnight Sunday that his social media platform will retire its widely recognized blue bird logo, and eventually the Twitter name, as part of his relentless effort to overhaul the company, The Washington Post reported.
Amid a series of tweets asking users whether the brand should change its default color from blue to black or white, Musk added: “Soon we shall bid adieu to the twitter brand and, gradually, all the birds.”
According to The Washington Post, Musk said he would replace the famed bird with an “X’, which would match his early payment processing company X.com and the recently named parent company of Twitter, X Holdings. Musk has spoken repeatedly of his hopes to make Twitter an “everything app” that would include a payment system as well as communications.
Later on Sunday, he tweeted the the interim logo “goes live later today.”
Musk’s announcement caught Twitter employees as well as users by surprise. At midday, the company’s webpage on branding still declared: “Our logo is our most recognizable asset. That’s why we’re so protective of it.”
NPR reported that Musk hinted at the change as early as October of last year when he was days away from officially owning the company. “Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app,” he said on Twitter.
Musk’s vision for an “everything app”, NPR reported, has been compared to platforms like the ubiquitous WeChat app in China.
According to NPR, for years, the billionaire has been known for having an affinity for the letter X – though he has shared little explanation as to why.
In one of his earliest ventures, Musk called his online bank X.com. That name was later dropped when the platform merged with a competitor to become PayPal. “X” is already the name of Tesla’s third electric car model, which debuted in 2015. Musk’s spaceflight company is also widely referred to as SpaceX. And in 2020, Musk and his then-partner, the Canadian musician Grimes, named their youngest son “X Æ A-12.”
Engadget reported that Elon Musk’s recently-announced AI venture is called xAI. And Twitter’s holding company was renamed to X Corp in April. Musk also talked about how X would help Twitter become an “everything app.” Though Musk has offered few specifics on this vision, many believe he’s referencing apps like WeChat, the most popular app in China that people use for a host of everyday activities like payments and shopping, in addition to social networking.
According to Engadget, officially abandoning the Twitter brand could be a risky move for Musk. The company is already facing an advertising exodus that’s resulted in a loss of more than half of the company’s ad revenue. A rebrand could further alienate advertisers.
In my opinion, changing the brand from a blue bird logo to a X will do little other than to temporarily confuse people who maybe haven’t logged into Twitter for a while. What Twitter really needs is more moderators to make the site welcoming to the marginalized people who are still using the service.
NOTE: The X at the top of this blog post is not the official one that Elon Musk will, eventually, reveal.