People have been saying “RIP, Twitter” for months, but now it isn’t just some melodrama — Twitter is actually dead.
Elon Musk started the week with a hasty rebrand to X that got the internet outrage machine firing on all cylinders. And justifiably so:
- Twitter wasn’t just a brand; tweeting was a verb: In the same way a tissue is a Kleenex, Twitter owned the action of posting on social media. That’s the branding “holy grail,” as a market research expert told The New York Times — and in a quick flurry of tweets (Xs?) from Musk, that cultural hold was flushed away.
- The X logo is just a decades-old unicode character: “I’m looking forward to Twitter attempting and failing to trademark their new logo,” one academic wrote. The logo may be “interim,” per Musk, but that wouldn’t be great news either — it suggests another disorienting rebrand ahead for users.
- The switchover was rushed: So much so that “Twitter” and “tweet” remain all over the place. The name and logo changed; to date, not much else on the site has. Except for the vibes…
- People considering an exit were given another reason to seek one out: Already faced with the threat of Meta’s ~185m-user Threads, X has given new life to competitors Mastodon (surging again) and Bluesky, which trended post-rebrand.
BTW: Can anything “trend” anymore? Twitter’s 15 years of shared language is out, adding to the chaos.
This rebrand-on-a-whim move…
… isn’t making CEO Linda Yaccarino’s job any easier. She’s less than two months into a tenure meant to convince advertisers the company is stable and disciplined enough to be a good business partner.
All of this isn’t about to help her with that tall task.
Yaccarino is a seasoned pro, as seen in her framing of the X rebrand, but it’s a challenge for anyone to work on the defensive every day. She’s had limited time to put her own stamp on the company — one her boss keeps literally changing overnight.
Here’s hoping the rebrand at least came with some notice for Yaccarino, unlike the announcement of her hiring.