Elon Musk’s rebranding Twitter as “X”, because… yeah… about that…

Is this a genius rebranding step, or the final push of the handcart over the cliff? (Spoiler: Almost certainly not the first thing).

It’s being widely reported that Elon Musk will at some point today (or tomorrow, because US times are like that when you’re based in Australia) rebrand Twitter as “X”.

Musk already owns the x.com domain and at the time of writing, it’s already redirecting to the Twitter.com domain, and he’s tweeted about it, as has freshly minted Twitter CEO… sorry, X CEO, I guess? — Linda Yaccarino.

I feel the urge to quote her statement in full, because oh boy, it’s a lot to take in.

X is the future state of unlimited interactivity – centered in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking – creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services, and opportunities.

Powered by AI, X will connect us all in ways we’re just beginning to imagine. For years, fans and critics alike have pushed Twitter to dream bigger, to innovate faster, and to fulfill our great potential. X will do that and more. We’ve already started to see X take shape over the past 8 months through our rapid feature launches, but we’re just getting started.

There’s absolutely no limit to this transformation. X will be the platform that can deliver, well….everything.

Somebody, I fear, has never heard about overpromising.

The big question here is of course, does this really matter?

Twitter has — and even Mr Musk has stated this — shed advertisers and revenue at a frightening rate since his takeover, while also introducing steps that make it a considerably less flexible platform to use if you’re not willing to pay for a Twitter Blue Tick. It’s his platform, purchased at considerable expense, and he can do with it what he likes, naturally enough.

Still, Twitter almost came close in social media to what Google’s achieved in search, becoming the effective byword for social media. Almost… but not quite. Dropping the entire brand is a bold move in itself, because it burns a lot of recognition.

People know Twitter, while saying you’re going X has, well… other connotations to it. Maybe that’s just Elon once again trying to be edgy, but is being edgy with billions of dollars really a worthwhile endeavour?

Oh, wait, Elon’s ego. That’s the primary driver here, how could I forget that?

Twitter is also undeniably less relevant than it was a year ago, or even several years ago. It’s hard to imagine something like the Arab Spring taking place on Twitter/X now, with social media audiences fragmenting across platforms such as Threads, BlueSky, Mastodon et al, while Twitter seems to just hang on by pure dint of the size of the audience it once had.

I dip my toes back into Twitter fairly infrequently these days, mostly to promote my own work, and while I wouldn’t call it a ghost town just yet, the quality of what’s going through its algorithm is… not good.

Although at least I guess he’s already got the theme tune sorted. I wonder how much the licensing is going to cost him? Probably less than Twitter did.

Update: This is also an excellent rundown of what happened the last time Elon tried to go down this super-app route…

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