Renaming Twitter to ‘X’ is proving to be the dumbest branding mistake of the year.
In recent weeks, I’ve seen countless articles and opinion pieces making fun of the change, which eliminated almost two decades of brand recognition in an instant.
Usually, the jokes go something like this:
In covering the brand change, pundits mention the X company name but almost always remind us that it used to be called Twitter. In many cases, they refer to a tweet as an ‘X’ or that a post has been ‘X’ed’ instead of retweeted, but as they continue explaining this head-scratching move, writers like me usually slip back into calling the company Twitter, eventually mentioning a tweet or retweet — and abandoning the whole X idea. This is in addition to jabs about the massive X sign on top of the headquarters and constant reminders that Elon Musk is fascinated by the letter and has always wanted to use the name. (I haven’t seen too many comments about SpaceX for some reason.) In other words, it’s all pretty ridiculous.
The other day, I was talking to a group of social media experts and several of them even refused to say the name X. They just think it’s dumb. For one thing, it’s hard to remember. In casual conversation, if you say you have ‘X’ed’ a post, you usually have to explain what it means. For the casual social media user, if you mention the company X, it sounds confusing — like a placeholder for a real company. “Have you tried the X app?” usually leads to blank stares. And this after it has been widely reported that Twitter has changed its name.
People don’t seem to care. They want to just keep saying Twitter.
That’s why I want to throw out this challenge.
Since Elon Musk loves polls, I’d like to see one asking users if he should revert the name back to Twitter. Honestly, there’s no way to predict how people will react, since I’m basing my assumptions on a few experts and pundits who have called the rebrand and renaming a mistake. Also, polls on Twitter (I mean, X) conducted on Musk’s feed would not really be ideal, since people know he likes the name. And yet, it’s the only way. Musk has millions of followers, and if they do challenge their hero, this would be one way to send a clear message.
My prediction? I doubt he will do it. He’s already made the change, and the company has already auctioned off Twitter branded items.
Meanwhile, someone has to take a stand — it might as well be me. I’ll keep calling the company Twitter for now, and reference the official rebranded name. That’s what I’ve been doing recently anyway, and it certainly leads to a lot less confusion.
Maybe I’ll be wrong and the name X will catch on with users. Maybe it will become the everything app Musk always wanted. Maybe the tweet will finally die.
I doubt it.
What will happen instead? We’ll just move on, ignore the X company, and find something else to talk about. Threads, anyone?