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The Twitter blue bird has flown as Musk says the X logo is here




July 24 (Reuters) – After 17 years with an iconic blue bird that came to symbolize the broadcasting of ideas to the world, billionaire Elon Musk renamed Twitter X and unveiled a new logo, marking a focus on building an “everything app”.

On Monday, a stylized white X on a black background became the new logo on Twitter’s website, although the blue bird was still seen on the mobile app.

Since taking over Twitter in October, Musk has said he envisions an app that could offer a variety of services to users beyond social media, such as peer-to-peer payments, an idea that echoes the wildly popular WeChat app in China.

The transformation is more simply a way for Musk to make his mark on the company, said Tom Morton, global director of strategy at advertising agency R/GA. “Twitter’s changing name and logo has nothing to do with user, advertiser or market issues. It is a symbol that Twitter is Elon Musk’s personal property.

“He conquered the castle, now he flies his own flag.”

The new logo drew mixed reactions from users and sparked confusion over what tweets would now be called, while marketing and branding experts said the rebrand risked throwing away years of Twitter’s name recognition.

“Only a few brands have become verbs or seen referenced in global news channels as often as Twitter has,” said Matt Rhodes, head of strategy at creative agency House 337, which has worked with British telecoms company Sky.

“Anything that makes it harder for people to find, or want to open the app on their cluttered phone screens, risks hurting usability,” he said.

Fernando Machado, who previously held the role of chief marketing officer at Activision Blizzard, Restaurant Brands International and Burger King, said it usually takes time to move brands in, but “as a Twitter user, I admit I miss the little bird already.”

“Personally, I think the new approach feels a little cold and impersonal,” he said.

Outside Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco on Monday, police stopped construction workers from removing the Twitter sign, in a scene witnessed by a Reuters reporter. On one side of the building, only the blue bird and the letters “er” remained.

“#GoodbyeTwitter” was trending on the platform on Monday in reference to the old logo as some users criticized the new one.

Musk tweeted on Saturday that “soon we will say goodbye to the Twitter brand and, gradually, all the birds”.

In response to a tweet asking what tweets will be called under X, Musk replied “x’s”.

‘ALT APP’

Musk has used the letter X repeatedly across his companies. He co-founded x.com as an online bank in 1999, which later became PayPal. He bought the domain back from PayPal in 2017, saying it had “sentimental value”.

The x.com domain now redirects to Twitter.

Linda Yaccarino, the former NBCUniversal advertising executive who started as Twitter chief on June 5, told employees in a memo Monday that X “will go even further to transform the global square.”

The company will work on new features in audio, video, messaging, payments and banking, according to the memo, which was seen by Reuters.

The platform will face challenges in reinventing the business.

Since Musk’s takeover, the company has gone through turbulent times with layoffs, a sharp drop in advertisers and the meteoric rise of Threads, Meta’s answer to Twitter.

The billionaire’s decision to rebrand Twitter as X could be complicated legally: X is widely used and cited in trademarks, and companies including Meta and Microsoft already own intellectual property rights to the same letter.

The rebranding indicates that Musk has given up on any plans “to revive Twitter as a powerful standalone social network and simply considers the $44 billion spent on the network a sunk cost,” said Niklas Myhr, a professor of marketing at Chapman University.

“The last few months have been tumultuous on Twitter and I don’t think a new brand is going to solve everything,” said Drew Benvie, managing director of social media consultancy Battenhall.

“This is less about reinventing Twitter and more about building a brand around Elon Musk’s empire, including SpaceX, where the X brand really ties together a little more.”

Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm, Martin Coulter and Aiden Nulty in London, Bharat Govind Gautam and Samrhitha A in Bengaluru; Sheila Dang in Dallas and Carlos Barria in San Francisco; additional reporting by Juby Babu; editing by Barbara Lewis and Jonathan Oatis

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Supantha leads the European technology and telecom coverage, with a particular focus on new technologies such as AI and 5G. He has been a journalist for around 18 years. He joined Reuters in 2006 and has covered a variety of beats ranging from the financial sector to technology. He is based in Stockholm, Sweden.



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