From Twitter to X: Elon Musk Begins Erasing an Iconic Internet Brand

For over a decade, Twitter has become known for its blue and white bird logo, which has become a symbol of the social network’s unique culture and vocabulary. “Tweet” became a verb. “Tweet” means a post. “Tweeps” became a nickname for his Twitter employees.

Late Sunday, Elon Musk began to dispose of everything.

The tech billionaire, who bought Twitter last year, renamed its social platform on its website and began replacing its bird logo with a stylized version of the 24th letter of the Latin alphabet. The cafeteria at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters now features an X logo, and conference rooms have been renamed to words containing the X, including “eXposure,” “eXult,” and “s3Xy,” according to photos seen by The New York Times.

Musk has long said he might change his name, but he hastened the process. Tweet Early Sunday morning, he announced that he would “soon say goodbye to the Twitter brand and gradually to say goodbye to all the birds.” He says he wants Twitter to be an “anything app” called X that encompasses banking and shopping as well as social networking.

Early Monday morning, Mr. Musk also shared a photo A giant X was projected onto Twitter’s San Francisco office building with the caption “Headquarters Tonight”.

The move continues today, but it’s the most visible change Musk has made to Twitter since he signed a deal to buy the company in October. He took many steps behind the scenes to overhaul the company, laying off thousands of Twitter employees, and changing features of the platform such as badges to authenticate users and rules governing what they can and cannot say on the service.

But the name and logo change couldn’t be ignored. And by starting to drop Twitter’s name, Musk has left behind an entrenched brand that has existed since its inception in 2006, delighting and frustrating celebrities, politicians, athletes and other users alike.

Many Twitter users, who had spent years tweeting and building a presence on the site, seemed alienated by the change. “Have you seen the new logo (of eXecrable)?” Actor Mark Hamill tweeted Use the hashtag #ByeByeBirdie on Mondays. Some saw the move as Musk’s latest blow to the site, and others were adamant that he would continue to call the site Twitter and continue to “tweet.”

Forrester’s vice president and research director Mike Purx said it’s the “Holy Grail” because brand becoming a verb means it’s become part of popular culture.

“The app itself has become a cultural phenomenon in every sense of the word,” he said. “Elon Musk has wiped 15 years of brand value from Twitter in one fell swoop and is now essentially starting from scratch.”

Musk risked angering Twitter users, even though he couldn’t afford to offend them. His company is facing financial difficulties and increasing competition, with his rival Meta releasing a real-time public conversation app called Threads this month. The new app quickly got him 100 million downloads within a week, but the app’s usage is under scrutiny.

Mike Kerr, co-founder of brand company Namestormers, said Mr. Musk’s X logo could be interpreted as an eerie “Big Brother” tech champion vibe. Unlike the warm and cuddly Blue Bird, which he said was perhaps a little outdated and weighed down by bad press, the new logo was “very harsh,” he said.

Still, it evokes phrases like “X marks the spot,” which could help Musk distinguish the platform from Twitter’s baggage, Kerr said.

“If they’re doing it wrong and it’s someone other than Elon Musk, that puts him at greater risk because people could start making fun of it,” said Kerr, who has helped thousands of customers come up with names, including used-car company CarMax.

Musk has long been interested in the X name. In 1999 he, online banking. The company merged with another start-up and changed its name to become online payment company PayPal.

In 2017, Musk said he bought the domain back from PayPal. “No plans for now, but very sentimental value to me,” he said. tweeted at the time.

Musk’s electric car maker, Tesla, also has a sports utility vehicle called the Model X. One of Musk’s sons, XÆA-12 Musk, is often referred to as “X” for short. The holding company set up to complete the Twitter acquisition was named X Holdings. Musk also heads an artificial intelligence company called xAI.

“I like the letter X,” he said Posted on sunday.

Musk has disdained Twitter’s traditional corporate culture. He disputes the many references to birds in internal team names and products. At one point, he renamed his crowdsourced fact-checking facility from “Birdwatch” to “Community Notes.” He recently had someone hide the “w” in his Twitter name at his San Francisco headquarters.

Among those who didn’t seem to mind the change was Twitter founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey. In a tweet on Monday, he said a rebrand was not “necessary” to achieve Musk’s vision, but that rebranding was controversial.

“The Twitter brand comes with a lot of baggage,” said Dorsey. I have written. “But it’s not the name that counts, it’s the usefulness it provides.”

Martin Glasser is a San Francisco-based artist. part of the team He, who helped design Twitter’s latest bird logo in 2011, said it was intended to convey “simplicity, brevity and clarity.” The goal, he said, was to make the logo as memorable as Apple and Nike.

Glasser said Musk can do whatever he wants with the brand, but “hopefully the bird will either occupy a happy memory space in the culture, or be one of the logos that belongs to the culture, not to the company.”

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