Live: Twitter's strange X rebrand explained as the blue bird disappears


A screenshot of the first ever Tweet from Jack Dorsey which says "just setting up my twttr"

(Image credit: Sina Estavi)

Ouch! NFT of first tweet is auctioning for a massive loss

A fitting story to leave you with as we sign off from another day of Twitter chaos – as spotted by Tom’s Hardware, the NFT of Jack Dorsey’s famous “just setting up my twttr” Tweet is currently being auctioned, with the current top bid being 1 ETH, which equates to around $1,895.

The bad news? The NFT was originally bought for $2.9 million in 2021. By our calculations, that’s a loss of… just under $2.9 million. So while it’s been a pretty bad day for Twitter fans, spare a thought for the crypto entrepreneur who was looking to cash in on a piece of Twitter history.

The future of X: the everything app?

So what does the future hold for the app formerly known as Twitter? The clearest explanation (and one that’s still about as clear as a frosted window) is Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino’s statement below that X will be centered “centered in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking”. In other words, the holy grail of a one-stop everything app, like WeChat in China.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of a company outside China wanting to replicate the success of WeChat, which is estimated to have about 1.319 billion users (according to Statista) and has a popular WeChat Pay feature inside the app that’s similar to Apple Pay and Google Pay.

That’s why Microsoft was rumored to be planning a one-stop super-app for all our needs late last year, according to a report from The Information. Apparently, Microsoft was looking to combine (you guessed it) shopping, messaging, web search, and news feeds into one app.

Elon Musk expresses a similar kind of vision in the video above, but how quickly this plan for X will be rolled out isn’t clear. Mobile payments were the next slide after the relaunch of Twitter Blue on a wishlist that Musk shared in November 2022, so perhaps that will be the next step for X. Or just more chaos.

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A laptop on a grey background showing the Twitter dialogue box

(Image credit: Future)

Great question, Twitter…

The fallout from Twitter’s rebranding to X continues, as Elon Musk appears to delight in the chaos and confusion reverberating around his $44 billion social media site. According to Musk, the answer for ‘retweets’ is that the “whole concept should be rethought” and that Twitter Blue should be renamed “balls. Just… balls”.

Clearly, we’re going to need to wait a while to get some serious answers to how the rebrand is going to shape the rest of the site. Particularly given that Twitter’s own account seems confused, changing its logo and name to ‘X’ but leaving the @Twitter handle unchanged (below). 

Our money is on a generous helping of more confusion and handbrake turns this week. Anyway, we guess we’ll see you all over on Threads… 

A laptop on a grey background showing the Twitter brand's own Twitter account

(Image credit: Future)

A sad day for Twitter fans…

The overwhelming feeling among long-time Twitter users today is one of sadness. I’ve been on Twitter since July 2009, and while I’ve managed to ride through some of the site’s big potholes – the sudden introduction of rate limits, the hoarding of good features behind Twitter Blue subscription – this rebrand is a stark reminder that I’ll soon need to find somewhere else for independent news and breaking memes.

The thread above from designer Martin Grasser below (who co-designed the blue bird) is a fitting obituary to the Twitter logo, which was concocted from a series of circles. That’s all a little more considered than the thunderously uninspiring new X logo…

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A quick break from Twitter (sorry, X) news…

We interrupt this live Twitter meltdown to bring you a quick round-up of the other tech news you need to know about today.

A slightly more positive story for Android fans is that ChatGPT is coming to the platform this week. Exactly which day isn’t yet clear, but you can pre-register your interest by clicking the button on its Google Play Store listing.

Back to bad news, Spotify is expected to raise the pricing for its Premium plan this week from $9.99 a month to $10.99 a month this week, according to The Wall Street Journal. We knew it was coming following hints from Spotify CEO Daniel Ek earlier this year, but that doesn’t make the small price hike any less painful.

Lastly, Apple users should check to make sure they don’t have any snaps storied in the purgatory of Apple’s My Photo Stream, which is being shuttered on July 26 this week. And it’s also time for Samsung fans to limber up for the arrival of Samsung Unpacked 2023, which starts on July 26. Ah, the comfortably familiar duvet of new gadgets…

So what do we call Tweets now?

‘Tweets’ have become a universally recognized shorthand for social media statements, even for those who’ve preferred to stand outside Twitter’s increasingly unruly town square. So what do we call them now, in the absence of Twitter?

According to Elon Musk’s reply above, they’ll now be called “x’s”. Which makes no sense at all, so we’d imagine most people will continue to call them tweets until everyone either finds a new Twitter, or Musk files down the edges of this characterless rebrand. Threads is starting to sounds more appealing by the day…

How did we get here?

There have been so many twists and turns on Twitter rollercoaster since Elon Musk acquired Twitter in October 2022, it can be hard to keep track. So for a quick whistlestop tour of Musk’s first six months as CEO – before Linda Yaccarino took the reins in late June – have a flick through our timeline below.

The ‘fun’ began immediately after $44 billion takeover, with an open Musk brainstorming session suggesting the possibility of bringing back Vine (the original short-form video app), followed by the first rumblings of the controversial Twitter Blue overhaul that we have today.

Twitter Blue went live in November 2022, before a relaunch in December – and then Twitter suddenly, and controversially, broke third-party apps. We don’t know about you, but we’re getting a bit of a sore neck from this rollercoaster – with many Twitter users understandably jumping ship to the seemingly calmer waters of Threads.

A laptop on a grey background showing Twitter with its logo replaced by the Dogecoin logo

(Image credit: Future)

Why this is happening: theory no.3

Remember when Elon Musk turned the Twitter logo into a Shiba Inu, the face of the Dogecoin cryptocurrency, back in April? An overnight rebrand is nothing new, which has led to some to speculate that this isn’t a rebrand at all, but merely another example of Elon Musk stirring the pot of the attention economy.

While the move certainly has the hallmarks of publicity stunt – the logo, for a start, has been fudged together from crowdsourced design and the Unicode 𝕏 symbol –this almost certainly isn’t another dogecoin moment. Twitter’s transformation into X has long been promised by Musk, and we sadly don’t see the blue bird returning based on the announcements so far.

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Why this is happening: theory no.2

As always with Elon Musk ventures, conspiracy theories abound. With Musk previously warning that bankruptcy has been a possibility for Twitter, some have suggested that this rebrand could simply be part of a ploy to worm out of the site’s difficult financial position.

Bankruptcy could theoretically help Twitter refinance its debts, while over on Meta’s Threads some are suggesting it could more be a way to protect the Twitter brand ahead of a future sale, if and when X files for bankruptcy.

This is all highly speculative, of course, but Musk clearly wouldn’t be erasing a globally recognized brand like Twitter without a close eye on the financial consequences.

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Why this is happening: theory no.1

Twitter’s rebrand into X hasn’t come completely out of the blue, so to speak – Elon Musk stated that this was his intention back in October 2022 with the Tweet above stating that X would be “the everything app”.

He followed that up by stating that buying Twitter in a deal valued at $44 billion “probably accelerates X by 3 to 5 years”. Since then, many have questioned the wisdom of trying to create an “everything app” like WeChat, because tech regulation would surely ultimately try to break it up.

But the headwinds of popular opinion haven’t stopped Musk before, and it seems he’s plowing on with that plan to transform Twitter into that all-encompassing app regardless…

Why is Twitter turning into X?

Before we delve into the deeper reasons for Twitter’s rebrand, why X? After all, it’s a pretty neutral, some might say dull, replacement for the charming (and globally recognized) blue Twitter bird.

Well, Elon Musk has had something of an obsession with X. He started with in 1999, which later became part of PayPal – then there’s SpaceX (the rockets and spacecraft company), the Tesla Model X and the recent launch of xAI (a new generative artificial intelligence venture).

So killing the Twitter logo with an X is very much on-brand for Musk’s companies, and sees it fit into his growing collection of tech brands. But it also likely marks the start of Twitter’s change from a messaging app into an ‘everything’ app that takes us full circle back to those early attempts to disrupt the traditional banking industry…

A laptop on a grey background showing the Twitter homescreen with new X logo

(Image credit: Twitter)

The blue bird is gone!

Twitter isn’t messing around with this X rebranding. For us, the blue bird logo has now disappeared from the web version of the homepage – presumably, the same will happen soon to the mobile app.

This all follows the slightly sinister projection of the new X logo onto Twitter’s building last night, which looks more like a scene from a Batman movie than a rebrand of one of the world’s most-loved social networks. 

This all makes Twitter’s “what is happening?!” prompt seem all the more fitting today…

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What exactly is the plan behind Twitter’s X rebrand? Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino has tried to explain the vision (above), which sounds an awful lot like the app wants to become an all-encompassing answer to WeChat. 

Yaccarino states that messaging will just be another part of the new Twitter, sitting alongside “payments/banking” (interestingly, Musk’s original merged with PayPal back in March 2000) to help create a “global marketplace”. Sounds like memes might become something of a Twitter sideline…  

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There’s only one place to start with today’s tech news – Twitter’s overnight rebranding to X. It started with yesterday’s Tweet above from Elon Musk, which kicked off a fast-paced makeover for the social media site that gave it a new logo.

Over the next few hours, Musk took part in a Twitter Spaces chat (where he stated that “we’re cutting the Twitter logo from the building with blowtorches”) and changed his Twitter profile to the new logo.

So what exactly is going on? As ever with Musk, there method to the apparent madness remains slightly unclear, but it’s likely to be related to Musk’s recent announcement of xAI and his desire to turn Twitter into an all-encompassing app in the guide of China’s WeChat. More on that shortly…


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