The billionaire’s bid to show the social media platform into an all the things app was a daring however foolhardy resolution
Elon Musk, the billionaire and enterprise magnate with a bizarre obsession with the letter X, modified the well-known Twitter model to ‘X’ seemingly in a single day. Many are suggesting, rightfully, that it will flip right into a case research for tank a extremely noticeable model.
However there’s a logic behind what Musk is doing, and he’s been laying out his intentions because the starting of his Twitter acquisition. For instance, an October 2022 report by Fortune famous that Musk has “a penchant for the letter ‘X’,” noting that his son with Grimes goes by this nickname, his rocket firm is known as SpaceX, and the corporate he used to purchase Twitter is known as X Holdings. And the plan, as the positioning famous, has at all times been to rebrand Twitter as X after which into an all the things app much like China’s WeChat.
However there are a selection of the explanation why that is unlikely to work. For one, Chinese language web customers have a unique consumption model than folks in different elements of the world. Till just a few a long time in the past, China was a particularly poor nation and most of the people didn’t have entry to the web. Most individuals in China jumped straight to cellphones and by no means had a desktop pc in any respect. So, in essence, your complete Chinese language web setting is pleasant towards the cell phone, whereas in different elements of the world, particularly in Western nations, lots of people use desktops and laptops.
There’s additionally the query of whether or not the broader world, particularly Westerners, and most significantly Individuals, would settle for one app to rule all of them. Public mistrust of Large Tech continues to be at an all-time excessive, as companies like Meta, Twitter and Alphabet proceed to have public scandals involving information and collusion with the US federal authorities. It’s uncertain that people would ever settle for one singular app that might faucet into all of their information, utilizing it for God solely is aware of what. The West doesn’t have a tradition that might settle for such conformity, whether or not warranted or not.
Musk’s can be not the one American tech agency to have the concept of emulating the East. Meta, the paper firm of standard apps like Fb, Instagram, and WhatsApp, has already been copying options from Chinese language apps for years. The Fb and Instagram marketplaces had been lifted instantly from Chinese language opponents, and each emulated options from their most direct Chinese language competitor, TikTok, with quick movies. YouTube, which is owned by Google’s mum or dad firm, Alphabet, additionally jumped onto the quick video bandwagon after TikTok turned outstanding and augmented its algorithm to push YouTube Shorts. Given the truth that China at all times stands accused of mental property theft, and that US tech CEOs help this narrative for opportunistic achieve, that US firms are doing this so overtly is the top of irony.
There are additionally some fast sensible issues about Musk’s rebranding. After taking management of the corporate, he said that it may face chapter within the close to future. He thus applied Twitter Blue, a verification service for folk keen to pay $8 monthly, and expanded it to restrict the quantity of direct messages and Tweets seen by regular customers. That had a sound logic: Cost customers for important providers, and many individuals have signed on (together with myself). However since Musk purchased Twitter, the corporate has misplaced half of its ad revenue. So one has to marvel if altering manufacturers in the course of such uncertainty was a good suggestion.
In my view, the reply is a transparent ‘no.’ Individuals know Twitter and (form of) belief the model, however they don’t know X. Will they nonetheless use it? If the rollout of Meta’s direct Twitter competitor, Threads, was any indication then, sure, they are going to. However rebranding solely provides friction and reduces the visibility of an already properly established app. To get a way of how ingrained Twitter is to so many individuals, the verb ‘to tweet’ is within the dictionary of many world languages – now we’ve ‘to xeet,’ which is each unrecognizable and unpronounceable.
One of many defining options of Musk, except for his penchant for X is his self-branding as a genius attempting to push humanity ahead. In actuality, a lot of his tasks, just like the Vegas Loop, which is a passenger automobile tunnel in Las Vegas meant to cut back congestion as an alternative of using public transportation, are abjectly silly.
There are additionally many misconceptions that he circulates to bolster the widespread narrative of his sycophants, like that he based Tesla, the electrical carmaker. However he didn’t create the corporate, he purchased it and later referred to as himself the “founder,” which led to a authorized battle that allowed him to maintain the title regardless of not really being what the English language would outline as a founder. A local news report from the San Francisco Bay space on this situation additionally describes how he pulled the identical factor with PayPal, which was the primary product of Confinity, a startup that had emerged with Musk’s X.com within the Nineteen Nineties. If merely being an early investor in an organization would outline one as a founder, then each one who pays US taxes could possibly be thought-about a Tesla founder due to the massive quantities of federal contracts that prop the EV maker up.
Musk shouldered his means into the status of being a founding father of a few of these firms in an effort to enhance his personal picture. It offers a severe quantity of clout within the tech bro setting to name oneself a founder. Due to this fact, if historical past is any information, the plan seems to be this: Elon Musk’s Twitter rebranding and the introduction of recent options is designed in order that he can label himself the corporate’s founder. It’s not about any grand company technique or severe try at turning into the app of energy; he simply needs to take credit score for Jack Dorsey’s product whereas blatantly ripping IP from China.
The statements, views and opinions expressed on this column are solely these of the creator and don’t essentially symbolize these of RT.