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The everything or nothing app? What Twitter’s rebrand means for the future

Shauna - ilk Agency

Elon Musk’s rebrand of Twitter is touted as a transformation towards an ‘everything app’ but it’s likely to amount to nothing as users and advertisers fly the nest, writes Shauna Madden, head of social and paid media at ilk agency.

The iconic Larry the Bird – supposedly named for the legendary Boston Celtics NBA star – recently flew the nest as Elon Musk brought ‘X’ to life. 

Musk crowdsourced a logo for the platform, with many using AI image generators to create their logo, and then he used one he considered to be ‘good enough’ live. 

He didn’t partner with a branding agency, he didn’t even consult the internal design team. He fired out a post, waited for some submissions to roll in, and he picked one. 

That, it seemed, was that.

He made the call, and then bit by bit, changes rolled out. X launched onto Twitter’s official feed first as a profile picture, and then moved into the desktop version as the icon at the top of the page, and it has now taken its final leap into the app store. 

Alongside this change to the central logo, tweets have now been altered to ‘posts’, and retweets have now been named ‘reposts.’

The birds have more or less all flown the nest now, and all that remains is X.

The logo has been subject to a lot of criticism in the design world; many calling out its similarities to other logos that already exist – those like the 1980s X Window System or the Xbox Series X logo, as well as Monotype’s Special Alphabets 4 ‘X’ glyph which is used for Unicode – but most of the criticism has been about the lack of thought and process that was taken to get to this stage. 

As it stands, the logo itself isn’t actually that terrible, despite its similarities to other products on the market. It’s been badged right away as a product that’s nowhere near finished. 

Musk said the logo is the initial starting point for something that will continue to evolve over time, and as it does so, it will likely get slicker and more unique. It’s started to change already, with some new, thicker lines and slight tweaks, so there’ll be a team of designers in the wings somewhere doing their best with what they’ve inherited, we’re sure. 

No, the real issue with X isn’t the logo, so much as the point behind it. 

Overnight, Musk has taken Twitter’s most recognisable asset – an asset with history and heart – and switched it out for something non-recognisable; a boring black and white logo that lacks emotion or interest, or a point of difference.

So why, then, did he make this change? 

It is true that he has a great deal of history with X as a concept. X is also a common theme between his brands SpaceX and Tesla, and his newly launched AI startup xAI, which according to its website, hopes to “understand the true nature of the universe.”

It’s not a style decision simply based on his personal preference, it’s the first radical step into the creation of a long-held dream for Musk – the ‘everything app.’

These apps are popular in China, with apps like WeChat forming a part of the everyday life of users – from banking and payments, loans, food deliveries, taxis, social media and even dating, all in one place.

Musk envisions a future where Twitter is history and X becomes the future. He sees a world where X forms a central part of everyone’s daily lives, an app that’s so woven into the fabric of daily life that society can barely function without it. 

In doing so, of course, he hopes to bring to life a dream he’s had for over two decades while turning around his own financial future, as it’s no secret that Twitter is suffering from mass loss of revenue, and really heavy debt. 

With one profile picture change, Musk has set the course for a future that sees us forgo cash completely, as we move to X for all of our digital payments and day-to-day living.

There are some hurdles in his way, of course. Mostly, it seems, is the question of who would actually want to use something like X here in the West?

Even if you remove the massive investment in the infrastructure required to make something like this a reality, with a humongous financial infrastructure behind it, the biggest issue here will be trust.

Since Musk has taken over, Twitter’s credibility has been dwindling at speed. 

Day after day, the news continues to mull over how chaotic the takeover has been. 

From allowing figures spouting hate speech and inciting violence back onto the platform in their droves, to providing a blue tick subscription service that allows anyone with $8 a month to impersonate a celebrity or a brand, through to the myriad of technical issues the channel has seen since he’s removed so many engineers from the company in his staffing cuts, there’s a very low level of trust in the platform right now. 

And that’s only going to be made even more clear by getting rid of anything that was recognisable of Twitter in an older era…a better era. 

All of these changes have resulted in users and advertisers leaving the channel en-masse, spending time on alternatives like TikTok, Reddit and Threads, and that’s where the biggest issue will lie for Musk. 

The truth is, people aren’t wanting to even invest time passively browsing Twitter anymore, and they haven’t adopted the paid subscriptions to anywhere near the level Musk was expecting.

The idea that they’d be willing to open themselves up to more information sharing, payment details and daily-use requirements feels like a stretch too far… even for a man taking people to the moon. 

X might be labelled as an everything app, but if it’s disregard for the users who joined Twitter for all it was back when it began continues, it’s likely to amount to nothing. 

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