June 24, 2024

Elon Musk’s Clumsy Twitter Rebrand On ‘X’ Draws A Joke, It Falls On Its Face

Something was going down outside of Twitter headquarters on Monday afternoon.

Less than a day after owner Elon Musk changed the company’s logo from a decade-old internationally recognized symbol with sky-high brand awareness value to the letter ‘X,’ workers had moved in to begin dismantling the building’s giant Twitter sign.

The only problem was that Musk had not obtained the proper permits for the crane that is now blocking the street, according to a witness at the scene. Officers with the San Francisco Police Department quickly arrived and began “closing it down,” he tweeted. The half-finished operation left only the sign reading “er.”

A spokesperson for the SFPD told The Daily Beast in a statement that nearby officers “responded to a report of a possible unauthorized street closure. Through their investigating officers they were able to determine that no crime had been committed, and this incident was not a police matter.”

It was just the latest blow in the comedy of errors that has been Musk’s attempt to overhaul the social media platform that earned him $44 billion last year. The gambit, which officially began on Sunday when the blue bird logo was removed from the site, has already been considered deeply self-deprecating.

“Colorless, bland, generic… boring!” one user tweeted. “This is branding suicide.”

Other users were quick to compare the new logo design to design porn sitebad team battle game Call of Duty from 2008 onwards,” or “app for membership only A human trafficking elite club headquartered in Budapest.”

“It’s nothing but a cheap, meaningless play to get his name in the press,” comedian Adam Conover observed.

Another user, apparently joking about the confusion of the letter, posting a photoshopped image of Musk’s tweet with the caption, “Cool website you fucking idiot.”

After Musk tweeted as they wanted a “good enough X logo” early Sunday, fans came to give their suggestions. An acolyte named Sawyer Merritt posted several designs in his responses, and Musk chose which he cried an “art deco minimalist” icon. “Probably changes later, they will certainly be refined,” said the billionaire.

The crowdsourced logo closely resembles a generic Unicode character, an international symbol that could not be traded, according to Eliot Higgins founder of Bellingcat.

Making matters even more chaotic, both Meta and Microsoft they hold the trademarks for similar versions of the X symbol, potential signs of long and bloody legal scraps to come. The reform could be just as much of a legal headache abroad, with Japanese users calling in noting that the rights to the term “X Japan” are owned by a popular J-rock group.

“I’m not a [copyright] lawyer but I think he should have known if he had the name before he changed it,” journalist and Daily Beast contributor Molly Jong-Fast tweeted.

However, a tall version of the symbol was proudly projected on the side of Twitter’s headquarters late Sunday.

Inside the building, according to s New York Times report on Monday, the removal of various “bird paraphernalia” was taking place soon. A projection of the X logo was installed in the cafeteria, and conference rooms were renamed “eXposure” and “s3Xy,” and Favorite old Musk.

But, try as Musk might, follow Twitter in other ways. The “Tweet” button and the search bar that prompts users to “Search Twitter” remained on the site’s home page. The Twitter.com URL still reliably directed users to the site, while the X.com domain redirected some users, including the company’s former owner Jack Dorseyto GoDaddy’s empty portal.

Anyone watching Musk’s messy takeover of Twitter will be familiar with the berry. After taking control in October, he fired or pushed out the majority of Twitter’s staff through multiple rounds of layoffs; then the site had intermittent bugs and crashes. Musk demanded that the rest of the company’s staff adhere to a “hardcore” work culture. Office benefits cut back. Workers even complained about the lack of toilet paper at headquarters.

Meanwhile, to the delight of many right-wing users, Musk trashed Twitter’s approach to content moderation, arguing that his predecessors had unduly restricted free speech. In some cases, however, he seemed to make exceptions when it suited his interests. He started an account that tracked the movements of his private jet, and multiple journalists who criticized him were suspended.

But ‘X,’ as a concept, has held a special place in Musk’s heart for almost three decades. His infatuation seems to have started with his work as co-founder of the online bank X.comwhich launched at the height of the dot-com bubble in 1999. Soon after its founding, the business was merged with a rival called Confinity—whose founding team was Peter Thiel—and rebranded as PayPal.

That year, Musk tried to convince the company that working in the letter (for “X-PayPal,” with an eye toward ditching the suffix entirely) was a great business idea.

However, according to author and Bloomberg News reporter Max Chafkin, the company’s marketing team conducted a series of focus groups “which showed that customers did not like the brand name, because it reminded them of porn”. But Musk, who had already paid $1 billion to acquire the X.com domain, was “unmoved.”

The following year, he was fired from PayPal. In 2017, he bought the domain back from his former company. “There are no plans at the moment, but I have great sentimental value,” he added tweeted at the time.

After PayPal, Musk continued to splash X across many of the projects he had a hand in — including SpaceX, Tesla Model X, xAI, and X Æ A-Xii, his son with ex-partner Grimes.

“This X rebrand is the short version of the tech version of your drunk college girlfriend on Facebook telling her you still think she’s hot,” Twitter user observed Monday.

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