Elon Musk, ever since acquiring Twitter for $44 billion (roughly Rs. 3,59,100 crore), has been introducing changes and updates to the microblogging site. The latest upheaval is a complete change of its name and brand logo, from Twitter to X. The billionaire also announced in a tweet that the domain X.com now redirects users to Twitter. From monetising Twitter through premium subscriptions, to paid verification badges, the changes Musk has made at the company speak volumes about how he intends to lead the platform and make it one of his X group of companies.
When Musk first acquired Twitter in October last year, he was clear about his plans for the microblogging site. The Tesla CEO also tweeted at the time that “Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app.” This “everything app”, as he explained, would be a super all-in-one app like WeChat, which can be used for multiple things including booking rides, sending money, and making payments, apart from facilitating day-to-day communications.
Now, Musk has indeed changed Twitter to X, when it comes to name, domain and even its logo. However, it is not yet a super app yet. On Sunday, July 23, he posted about changing the logo of Twitter to an X. In the following hours, he did not only that, but also made x.com redirect users to Twitter’s home page.
Elon Musk and his love for ‘X’
The rebranding to X is recent, but Musk’s love for this alphabet is not so random. In fact, it has lasted for years now. The idea of X first emerged in 1999, when the billionaire introduced x.com as a finance platform, which later became Paypal after merging with software company Confinity in 2000. According to an article in Time, Musk was removed from his role as the CEO of Paypal in 2000, and it was later sold to eBay in a $1.5 billion deal.
While Musk was reportedly hurt by this, he purchased x.com back from PayPal in July 2017, explaining that “it has great sentimental value”. Later that month, Musk made x.com live again, and it started redirecting visitors to The Boring Company in December 2017.
Since Twitter’s acquisition, Musk has been determined to put his plans for X – his “everything app” – into action. In his conversation with Ron Baron, the new Twitter chief announced his ambition to make Twitter “the most valuable financial institution in the world” in April 2023.
Apart from Twitter, Musk has also used the letter X in his space exploration company’s name, SpaceX; his latest AI initiative named xAI; and the first SUV mode launched by his company Tesla under the name Model X.
Changes to Twitter since Elon Musk’s acquisition
Twitter, under Musk’s leadership, has seen various changes, starting from termination of its then-CEO, Parag Agrawal and other top executives. In the following months, a lot of banned celeb accounts were allowed to return to the platform.
Within a month of his multi-billion dollar purchase, Musk began attempting to monetise Twitter with the reinvention of Twitter Blue. The company also saw a series of job cuts and layoffs across offices, including the sacking of its entire AI Ethics team.
Blue ticks for officially verified accounts as well as subscribers’ accounts started to appear in November. However, the tick marks on paid accounts disappeared within a few days. Musk also introduced different coloured tick marks, based on accounts’ ownership status, in order to recognise news media outlets.
With all these changes, Twitter’s ad revenue has seen a nearly 50 percent drop. Musk has tried to keep users engaged by introducing multiple new features including ive tweeting, community notes, and Twitter Blue for Business. To keep the business on track, Musk recently announced his resignation from the position of CEO, but is still heavily involved, pushing new features such as view counts and the ability to upload long videos.
The next big news came in April 2023, when Musk announced Twitter’s merger with X Corp. In May this year, Musk hired Linda Yaccarino to be the new CEO of Twitter. He has indicated that he will delegate authority to her and will step back to focus on his other companies.
A look at Twitter’s name and the blue bird’s history
Twitter was founded in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Noah Glass. Earlier, Twitter was planned to have different names, like Smssy and Twttr, as per CreativeBloq. The first official Twitter logo was just its name written in light blue in sans sherif shapes, and was designed by Linda Gavin.
Twitter’s relationship with a blue bird started soon after its launch. It was created by Simon Oxley, a British graphic designer. According to an NYT article, he offered the design for sale on the iStock website in 2006, and it was bought by Twitter for around $15. The name Larry was a tribute to basketball star and Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird.
The design has changed thrice, in 2009, 2010, and 2012. The current blue bird design was created by Doug Bowman, the company’s former creative director, according to whom “Twitter is the bird, the bird is Twitter.” Ever since, Larry the bird has been known only as the blue Twitter bird.
In 2023, new owner Musk has changed not just the logo, but also the name and the domain of Twitter. The company will now be known as X, with a logo of an X. According to a tweet by Paris Marx, the new logo was created by an in-house designer, using the font monotype. Another Twitter user has also come forward to take credit for the design, revealing the history behind how it all began.