Elon Musk kills the Twitter brand: Welcome to the age of X

X marks the spot where birds once tweeted.

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Overnight, the iconic blue bird icon was removed from the desktop version of Twitter and replaced by a stark, monochromatic letter X. The same change will shortly be made on the mobile version, the company confirmed.

The change is also said to signal an evolution for the brand beyond social media. “X is the future state of unlimited interactivity — centered 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,” tweeted Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino — or rather “x’ed” Yaccarino as we must learn to say.

Why we care. For users of X, the rebranding will indeed require sweeping changes to familiar vocabulary. People will “x” rather “tweet.” Presumably, on the mobile device, we will now see a list of users who recently “x’ed.” TweetDeck will surely become XDeck, although that has yet to be confirmed.

For marketers and advertisers, the change will underline questions already raised about brand safety. Last year, many sources noted a significant rise in hate speech on the platform. While Meta’s Zuckerberg has spoken about X competitor Threads as being “friendly,” the aesthetic of X inevitably comes across as minimalist, even brutalist — for example when the new logo is projected on the exterior of their headquarters like a sinister version of the Bat-signal.

Musk has a long history with the letter X. He’s clearly fond of it; it remains to be seen whether a wider audience will find the name and logo relatable.

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About the author

Kim Davis
Kim Davis is currently editor at large at MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for almost three decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space. He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020. Shortly thereafter he joined Third Door Media as Editorial Director at MarTech.

Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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