Elon Musk’s Twitter Rebranding: The Birth of ‘X’ and the Transformation of Social Media
Elon Musk, the man who probably has “Iron Man” on his resume under “previous experience,” is known for his ability to make the impossible seem just like another Tuesday afternoon. While most of us are struggling to parallel park their vehicle, Musk is busy plotting a course to Mars, inventing electric cars that drive themselves, and occasionally debating whether or not to rename Twitter during his lunch breaks. Let’s dive into the story of Elon Musk, and our beloved social media called X.
The story behind Twitter rebirth
Based on a fragment from Elon Musk’s upcoming biography, The Wall Street Journal journalists have revealed details about his X Corp (formerly Twitter) acquisition and billionaire’s plans to “blockchainize” the social media platform. According to the WSJ, in 2022, Musk recalled his old idea of creating a “universal app”. This concept dates back over two decades when he created X.com with PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.
Musk vigorously insisted on keeping the short name “X,” but his colleagues were not happy about it. This initiative didn’t gain popularity at the time, and decades later, the billionaire attempted to resurrect it. Musk advised his personal business manager, Jared Birchall, to buy Twitter shares. In April 2021, Tesla’s CEO became the largest shareholder of the social network after acquiring 9.2% of the shares for $2.89 billion.
One night, Musk called programmer Parag Agrawal, who had replaced Jack Dorsey as Twitter’s CEO. They decided to meet for a secret dinner along with the company’s board chairman, Bret Taylor, as reported by WSJ.
During the meeting, Musk was invited to join the company’s board of directors, and he accepted this offer. At the first meeting, the entrepreneur articulated his thesis that it would be beneficial for democracy if Twitter stopped restricting freedom of speech. He also proposed several ideas, including paid verification and the implementation of a financial ecosystem.
Later, his brother Kimbal suggested that it might be better to launch a new blockchain-based social network, possibly utilizing the meme cryptocurrency Dogecoin (DOGE), which, according to journalists, Musk had secretly financed.
After this conversation, the billionaire sent several messages to Kimbal, elaborating on the idea of a blockchain-based social network. This was followed by a search for investors for the acquisition of Twitter. Elon Musk found financial support in the form of Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison. Additionally, Musk discussed raising $5 million with the founder of the collapsed FTX exchange, Sam Bankman-Fried. The latter immediately began proposing the idea of blockchainizing the platform, but the plan seemed “too slow” to the billionaire, ultimately resulting in the cancellation of the agreement.
The $44 billion deal was closed in October 2022, and the previous CEO of the company, Parag Agrawal, along with its CFO, Ned Segal, left the headquarters. The new head of the social network began complaining about poor management and the state of the company. Subsequently, there were controversies involving layoffs and the implementation of new policies with considerations for freedom of speech.
New policies of an old social media
The Twitter rebranding took place on July 24th. Elon Musk renamed the social network to “X” and changed the logo, replacing the iconic blue bird with a black color scheme. During this hype, unknown individuals created a series of themed coins.
On July 1, 2023, Elon Musk imposed “temporary” limits on viewing tweets, citing an “extreme level” of data parsing and system manipulation. He did not specify when these restrictions would be lifted. In response, less-known microblogging applications started gaining popularity, and on July 4th, it became known that Meta Platforms planned to launch an alternative to Twitter called Threads.
Soon after, Twitter threatened to take legal action against Meta Platforms over this initiative.
In the grand saga of Elon Musk’s adventures with Twitter, one can’t help but wonder if he’ll eventually run out of alphabet letters to rebrand his social media empire. From X to Y, and who knows what’s next? Perhaps even a Z? One thing’s for sure, when it comes to Elon Musk and Twitter, the only limit is the character count. So, stay tuned for the next episode in this social media rollercoaster — because, with Musk, you never know what tweet will come next!
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Originally published on our Publish0x blog.