SAN FRANCISCO, UNITED STATES: In a surprising move, Elon Musk, the tech magnate and CEO of Tesla, has unveiled a dramatic rebranding of the social media giant Twitter.
On Monday (24 Jul), Musk and Twitter’s new chief executive, Linda Yaccarino, announced the replacement of the iconic blue bird logo with a minimalist white ‘X’.
This decision comes as part of Musk’s accelerated efforts to revitalize and transform the struggling platform since he took over as CEO nine months ago.
Musk’s fascination with the letter X dates back 24 years when he founded X.com, which later became PayPal despite his initial objections. His space exploration company is called SpaceX, and earlier this year, the parent company of Twitter was renamed X.
Musk updated his Twitter bio to “X.com,” which now redirects to twitter.com, signifying the platform’s new identity.
Describing the new logo as “minimalist art deco,” Musk also challenged the public to embrace the change in terminology. Instead of “tweeting” or “tweet,” a post on the platform will now be referred to as “an X.”
Since acquiring Twitter, Musk has been vocal about his vision to create an “everything app” similar to China’s WeChat, which combines social media, messaging, and payments into one comprehensive platform.
He believes that by emulating WeChat’s usability and utility in daily life, Twitter can achieve immense success.
The projection of the new logo onto Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters on Sunday night marked the official introduction of the rebranding. Yaccarino, a former advertising sales executive at NBCUniversal, expressed her excitement about the future of the platform, stating that “Powered by AI, X will connect us in ways we’re just beginning to imagine.”
However, the logo change was met with mixed reactions, with some expressing nostalgia for the old blue bird logo, which had become a symbol of the social media age.
Martin Grasser, one of the original designers of the blue bird logo, highlighted its intentional simplicity, balance, and legibility even in small sizes. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey responded to Grasser’s comments with an emoji of a goat, indicating his belief that the blue bird logo was the “greatest of all time.”
Critics of the rebranding, including Esther Crawford, a former head of product at Twitter, compared the move to “corporate seppuku,” a reference to the Japanese ritual suicide for samurais. Such drastic changes, she warned, are often the result of new management’s lack of understanding of the core business or disregard for the customer experience.
Despite the backlash, Musk remains undeterred. Since acquiring Twitter for US$44 billion last October, he has observed a significant decline in the platform’s advertising revenue.
To address this, Musk is shifting focus towards building a subscriber base and exploring new revenue models. However, the introduction of charges for previously free services and the return of previously banned right-wing accounts have also faced resistance from users and advertisers.
With around 200 million daily active users, Twitter continues to face challenges, including technical failures and content moderation issues. Its competitor, Meta’s Threads platform, has already garnered up to 150 million users since its recent launch. Still, its user engagement has shown signs of decline in recent weeks.
Elon Musk’s bold rebranding move aims to position Twitter as a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services, and opportunities.
Only time will tell if the X logo will become as iconic and synonymous with Twitter as the beloved bluebird it replaced.