The app that used to be called Twitter changed its name over the weekend, which caused a lot of talk on the internet. Now, X.com goes to Twitter.com, but the social media site still tells people to “tweet.”
The rebranding is another step in Twitter’s ongoing transformation from an online hangout for people who are always linked to an app that can do “everything,” as CEO Linda Yaccarino describes it.
“X Corp bought Twitter both to protect free speech and to speed up the development of X, the everything app,” the company’s owner, billionaire Elon Musk, wrote on Monday.
“The name Twitter made sense when you could only send 140-character messages back and forth, like birds talking. But now you can post almost anything, including hours of video. In the coming months, we will add full contact and the ability to handle all of your finances.
Twitter was bought by X Corp to protect free speech and to help X, the app for everything, take off. It’s not just that the company changed its name, but it’s still doing the same thing.
The name “Twitter” made sense when texts were only 140 characters long, like...
-Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 25, 2023
Here’s what the shift means for X as Musk seeks to reinvent Twitter, whichfor $44 billion.
What Will The App Do Now?
Musk has made it clear that he wants to turn Twitter into a “super-app” like China’s WeChat. At the moment, there is no app like this in the United States, but experts in the field can picture an app that lets people do pretty much everything they want to do online.
Nii Ahene, chief strategy officer of marketing company Tinuiti, said, “Users of the app can do a lot of different things on the platform, like listen to a podcast, shop, or watch videos.”
Twitter users can already have live audio conversations, send longer text messages, and stream video. For example, former Fox News host Tucker Carlson just started a new show on Twitter. If Twitter’s push for paid subscriptions works, it could someday share some of the money it makes from subscriptions with its users.
Ahene said, “In theory, they could become a more popular version of Patreon or other platforms like it.” “We don’t know if they will succeed or not. It’s not why people use Twitter today, so repositioning the company would take a lot of money, time, and effort with a very small team.
What’s With The Letter X?
Musk seems to have been obsessed with the letter X for a long time, as his very first business was called X.com. (After a merger, the app changed its name to PayPal, but author Walter Isaacson says that Musk wanted it to keep the name X.) Musk is said to have texted Isaacson after buying Twitter that he was “very excited about finally putting X.com together the way it should have been done, using Twitter as an accelerator!”
Musk’s other projects, like SpaceX, xAI, and the Model X, one of the first electric cars made by Tesla, also use the letter X. Musk even calls his son with the singer Grimes “X.”
“It’s just the letter X,” he said recently on the Joe Rogan Experience when asked how to say his son’s name, X A-XII.
Six years ago, Musk took back control of X.com. In April, he changed the official name of Twitter to X Corp. Over the weekend, X.com was changed to point to Twitter.com, and on Monday, a crane started taking down Twitter’s famous bird logo from the building where the business is based in San Francisco. But soon after the work started, the cops stopped it.
What Does This Mean for Twitter?
For now, the platform’s rebranding is just a name change; no new features have been added. This is consistent with Musk’s product approach, which seems to be to hype up the product first and then deliver it much later.
Mandeep Singh, an expert at Bloomberg Intelligence, said that the name change shows that Musk is likely to keep running the company for the near future. After Musk took over Twitter in April 2022, Singh said, some people thought the billionaire could make some changes and quickly sell it to someone else.
“That choice is out of the question now because the name has changed. I don’t think there’s anyone else who would buy it now,” he said.
What are the roadblocks?
An “everything app” could fail in many ways, from making its users confused to not being able to get enough sponsors.
“If you look at how little Tesla advertises, [Musk] thinks that a good product will sell itself and that you don’t need to market it. “On the other hand, you have a lot of big brands and companies that spend millions of dollars on Twitter and would disagree,” said Aaron Goldman, chief marketing officer of Mediaocean, one of Twitter’s advertising partners.
Analysts say that adding shopping and paid subscription content to the platform could help it grow in the long run by giving it more ways to make money and making it less dependent on big companies’ willingness to spend money.
In the short term, building up these skills would require a huge amount of money to be spent on people and buildings. It’s not clear if a company that has cut about three-quarters of its staff and is now in various lawsuits over unpaid bills can do that.
Singh said, “The investment is a lot in terms of cloud infrastructure. We’re talking about up-front investments of $40 billion to $50 billion.” “As a single app, Twitter doesn’t have the infrastructure to become an app for everything.”