From Twitter to X: Elon Musk sets out to destroy an iconic internet brand

For more than 10 years, Twitter has been identified by its blue and white bird logo, which has become a symbol of the social network’s unique culture and lexicon. “Tweet” became a verb. A “tweet” refers to a post. “Tweeps” became the nickname for Twitter employees.

Late Sunday, Elon Musk started to get away from it all.

The tech billionaire, who bought Twitter last year, rebranded its website as social platform X.com and began replacing the bird logo with a stylized version of the 24th letter of the Latin alphabet.

Inside Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco on Monday, X logos were displayed in cafeterias, while conference rooms were rebranded as words with an X, including “exposure,” “eXult” and “s3Xy,” according to photos seen by The New York Times. Workers also began removing bird-related paraphernalia such as the giant blue logo in the cafeteria. Outside the building, workers removed the first six letters of Twitter’s name before the San Francisco Police Department stopped them for “unauthorized work,” according to a warning sent by the department.

Mr. Musk had long said he might change the name, but he’s speeding up a process Tweet “Soon we will be saying goodbye to the Twitter brand and gradually to all the birds,” he announced early Sunday. He said he hopes to turn Twitter into an “everything activity” called X, which will include banking and shopping, not just social networking.

Since closing the deal to buy the company in October, Mr. The most visible changes Musk has made to Twitter — these are the ones that follow. Behind the scenes, he has taken steps to overhaul the company, laying off thousands of employees and changing features of the site, including badges that verify users, as well as rules governing what can and cannot be said on the service.

However, the name and logo changes cannot be ignored. By beginning to shed the Twitter name, Mr. Musk threw up. Twitter introduced its blue bird logo in 2010 and updated it two years later.

Many Twitter users, who have spent years tweeting and building their presence on the site, seemed alienated by the change. “Has everyone (expletive) seen the new logo?” Actor Mark Hamill He tweeted that on Monday, with the hashtag #ByeByeBirdie. Others visit Mr. The move was seen as the latest blow by Musk, with some adamant that they will continue to call the site Twitter and continue to “tweet”.

When brands become verbs, it’s the “holy grail,” said Mike Proulx, Forrester’s vice president and director of research, because they’ve become part of popular culture.

“Usage has become a cultural phenomenon in all kinds of ways,” he said. “In one fell swoop, Elon Musk wiped 15 years of brand value from Twitter and is now essentially starting anew.”

Mr. Musk drew the ire of Twitter users. His company faces financial problems and increased competition, with rival Meta this month releasing an app for real-time, public conversations called Threads. The new app quickly racked up 100 million downloads within a week, though the app’s usage has come under scrutiny.

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Mike Carr, Co-Founder of Branding Company Namestormers, Mr. He said Musk’s X logo could be interpreted as having an ominous “Big Brother” tech hegemony vibe. Unlike the blue bird, which he described as warm and edgy, but perhaps weighed down by a bit of dating and bad press, the new logo is “much harsher,” he said.

However, Mr. Mr Musk said he could help. Carr said.

“If they get it wrong, it’s anyone other than Elon Musk, and he’s at a higher risk because people might start making fun of it,” Mr. Carr said he has helped thousands of customers bring in the names, including CarMax, a used car company.

Mr. Musk has long been interested in the X name. In 1999, he helped found X.com, an online bank. The company changed its name to PayPal after it merged with another startup.

In 2017, Mr. Musk said. “There’s no plan right now, but it has a lot of sentimental value to me,” he said He tweeted that At the time.

Tesla, Mr. Musk’s electric automaker also has a sport utility vehicle called the Model X. Mr. One of Musk’s sons is X Æ A-12 Musk, often abbreviated X. The holding companies created to close the acquisition of Twitter were named X Holdings. Mr. Musk also heads xAI, an artificial intelligence company.

“I like the letter X,” he said Published On Sunday.

Mr. Musk has shown distaste for Twitter’s previous corporate culture. He has questioned the number of bird references in the company’s internal team names and products. At one point, he changed the name of the crowd-sourced fact-checking feature from “Birdwatch” to “Social Notes.” He recently joined Twitter at its San Francisco headquarters under the name W.

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Twitter founder and former chief executive Jack Dorsey is among those unfazed by the change. He said in a tweet on Monday, Mr. While renaming isn’t “essential” to achieving Musk’s vision, there’s an argument for it.

“The Twitter brand carries a lot of baggage,” Mr. Dorsey wrote. “But what matters is the utility it provides, not the name.”

Martin Crosser, San Francisco artist Part of a team In 2011, he helped design the most recent Twitter bird logo, which was meant to convey “simplicity, brevity and clarity”. The goal was to create a logo as memorable as Apple or Nike, he said.

Mr. Grosser, Mr. Musk can do whatever he wants with the brand, but “I hope the bird takes a place in culture, that it becomes a happy memory or one of the logos that belongs to a culture rather than a company.”

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