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Twitter’s big X rebrand is flogging a dead bird

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Twitter’s big X rebrand is flogging a dead bird

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OPINION: By killing the familiarity of the name and logo, Elon Musk is flushing away what’s left of the old Twitter. It’s no rebirth, it’s the fatal rotation on the death spiral.

Rather than The Emperor or Darth Vader – that would give him far too much credit – I like to think of Elon as the Grand Moff Tarkin of these proceedings.

I envision him sat in one of his little space play toys revelling to sycophants that the “last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away” as he consigns the Twitter brand to the ether of silicon heaven.

Too cocksure and foolish to acknowledge his Death Star of an X brand might be susceptible to a rebellion, he’s all too happy to flaunt his strength by blowing the Planet Twitter and all its inhabitants to smithereens. However, like the fanatical Grand Moff Tarkin, he doesn’t see the proton torpedoes coming down the reactor core.

He sees, what his CEO Linda Yaccarino calls “the future state of unlimited interactivity – centred in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking – creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services, and opportunities. Powered by AI, X will connect us all in ways we’re just beginning to imagine.”

As a Twitter comment pointed out this morning, imagine reading that in the voice of Succession’s Kendall Roy. You’d just laugh wouldn’t you? Besides, isn’t what she’s describing there more commonly known as The Internet? You almost sense that Linda has about as much power to call the shots as the hapless Roy siblings.

Users are fleeing Twitter at an immense rate. Tens of millions took to an Instagram-built clone that doesn’t do the things people actually still like about Twitter (a chronological feed being one), just to get away from the place and have a spot to interact with people and post random thoughts. Zuckerberg the saviour? It’s like the opposite of The Dark Knight.

“You either die a villain or you live long enough to see yourself become the hero.”

Every week there seems to be a last straw for many Twitter users; the limit on how many tweets you can see per day being the latest. Many – and I include myself in this – of those people stick around to watch the carnage, or because they can’t resist the routine of tapping on that blue bird every half an hour. They’ve done it for a decade or more and it’s as habitual as scratching an itch.

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X: Secret Lair of the Supervillain Cryptobros

I’ve got a feeling this might be different however. Ignore the fact that rebrands of successful companies overwhelmingly fail and are almost always rejected by customers for a second (I still refuse to call the European Cup the Champions League).

I believe scrapping the name and logo will a different psychological effect than, say, changing the verification system. Users won’t see that familiar bird any more on their home screen, they’ll just see an X. It’ll break the habit for many. It won’t be as automatic. Now, when they see the X, they’ll just think of Elon Musk.

For all the times we’ve said “it’s just not the old Twitter anymore”, now it officially isn’t. It’s now “X”, secret lair of the Supervillain Cryptobros and their quest for global domination through artificial intelligence and play money.

Think about your favourite bar. It might be a little rough around the edges and you get the odd less than friendly person in there, but it’s your local and you accept the flaws. You can catch up on all the local gossip with pals, share in successes and disappointments. There is a community.

If all of a sudden, the pub started playing awful EDM round the clock, sacked all your favourite bartenders, all the regulars were replaced by out-of-towners and you couldn’t get a reliably decent pint anymore, your desire to go in would be lessened.

If that pub changed the name and took down the sign, replaced it with some perplexing symbol and completely redecorated, it wouldn’t be your local at all anymore. It’d be a new bar.

Look, it feels silly to romanticise the old Twitter. It’s always been a horrible place, but it had its virtues too. For instance, the verification system worked and it was a first port of call to get reliable information about breaking news – or at least be able to corroborate information from available sources and make an informed decision about what was going on.

As a journalist, I valued that. You could piece stuff together, and include a range of views from people who were veritably qualified to have an opinion on something. Plus, in your main feed, you could rely on those people being who they said they were. Now, the Elon Musk parody account has a blue tick and often makes more sense than the bloke himself.

People have endured as a lot what they enjoyed about Twitter has been gradually stripped away. The changing of the name and the logo feels like the perfect opportunity to draw a line under it and just move on. I’m going to take the X as an instruction and close the tab for good.



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Harmony Evans is an award-winning author of Harlequin Kimani Romance, African-American romance, and so on. Harmony Evans is an award-winning author for Harlequin Kimani Romance, the leading publisher of African-American romance. Her 2nd novel, STEALING KISSES, will be released in November 2013. Harmony is a single mom to a beautiful, too-smart-for-her-own-good daughter, who makes her grateful for life daily. Her hobbies include cooking, baking, knitting, reading, and of course, napping and also review some of the best-selling and popular brands and services in the market and also write comprehensive blogs.

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