On 23 July, Elon Musk announced his plans to rebrand Twitter to X and within 24 hours that’s exactly what happened.
The rebrand all began with the platform’s CEO posting a series of tweets to test the waters. Like a handful of breadcrumbs to his followers, who gladly pecked and responded, he began by asking if the default colour should change to black before proposing the demise of the iconic blue bird symbol.
Within the hour, he was promising to change the platform’s logo to an X if a good enough version could be created. Tens of thousands of budding and experienced designers jumped at the chance, quickly posting an array of different versions of an X logo. The world was left watching and waiting to see if the CEO would follow through on his promise and by Monday afternoon (24 July), the new logo began to appear.
Read the PR Rules podcast transcript.
So, what’s changed?
For the time being, not a lot. Since 24 July, the logo has been slowly rolled out across the platform for both desktop and app users but twitter.com is still active with X.com simply redirecting to the original site. Meanwhile, a giant X logo erected outside the company’s HQ has been temporarily removed following complaints after its installation.
Given that many still call Channel 4’s online streaming service 4oD and not by its official name All4, and the Principality Stadium is often still called the Millennium Stadium by local people around seven years on, it’s likely people will still be referring to X and X posts as Twitter and tweets for some time yet.
Elon Musk has long had a love affair with the X symbol and you can see glimpses of this in his Tesla model line-up. He has owned X.com for a number of years, having bought it back from PayPal in 2017 following an earlier merger with the website. Perhaps his intention has always been to take over Twitter and rebrand it as X as part of something bigger?
Should business users of the platform be concerned?
At the moment, no.
While behind the likes of Facebook and Instagram in terms of audience, it still has a loyal audience of 450m monthly active users. Engagement on the platform has been slowly dwindling for a while and following his takeover in 2022, it was expected that the new CEO would breathe new life into the platform. The X brand could be part of attracting new users, which is surely good news for the businesses that are on there.
In due course, businesses will need to consider changing the Twitter bird icon that they use on their websites to link to their X (Twitter) company page. The same goes for email signatures and anywhere else that you link from. At some point, Twitter.com will cease to exist and links will need to be updated to X.com/Username. It might be worth seeing how soon this may happen and changing both the link and icon over at the same time.
Meanwhile, other platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Threads, and TikTok and its new text-based feature, will only make things more interesting on the battlefield of who dominates the social media space.