The billionaire’s bid to show the social media platform into an every little thing 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 this can flip right into a case research for find out how to tank a extremely noticeable model.
However there’s a logic behind what Musk is doing, and he’s been laying out his intentions for the reason that 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 known as SpaceX, and the corporate he used to purchase Twitter known as X Holdings. And the plan, as the location famous, has all the time been to rebrand Twitter as X after which into an every little thing app just like China’s WeChat.
However there are a variety of explanation why that is unlikely to work. For one, Chinese language web customers have a special consumption type than individuals in different elements of the world. Till a couple of many years 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 cell phones and by no means had a desktop laptop in any respect. So, in essence, the whole 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 People, would settle for one app to rule all of them. Public mistrust of Large Tech continues to be at an all-time excessive, as corporations like Meta, Twitter and Alphabet proceed to have public scandals involving knowledge 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 knowledge, 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 also be not the one American tech agency to have the concept of emulating the East. Meta, the paper firm of fashionable 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 brief movies. YouTube, which is owned by Google’s mother or father firm, Alphabet, additionally jumped onto the brief video bandwagon after TikTok grew to become distinguished and augmented its algorithm to push YouTube Shorts. Given the truth that China all the time stands accused of mental property theft, and that US tech CEOs assist this narrative for opportunistic achieve, that US corporations are doing this so brazenly is the top of irony.
There are additionally some fast sensible issues about Musk’s rebranding. After taking management of the corporate, he stated that it may face chapter within the close to future. He thus carried out Twitter Blue, a verification service for people prepared to pay $8 per 30 days, 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 companies, and many individuals have signed on (together with myself). However since Musk purchased Twitter, the corporate has misplaced half of its advert income. So one has to surprise if altering manufacturers in the course of such uncertainty was a good suggestion.
In my view, the reply is a transparent ‘no.’ Folks know Twitter and (kind 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 have now ‘to xeet,’ which is each unrecognizable and unpronounceable.
One of many defining options of Musk, apart from his penchant for X is his self-branding as a genius attempting to push humanity ahead. In actuality, lots of his tasks, just like the Vegas Loop, which is a passenger automobile tunnel in Las Vegas meant to scale back congestion as an alternative of using public transportation, are abjectly silly.
There are additionally many misconceptions that he circulates to strengthen 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 known 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 neighborhood information report from the San Francisco Bay space on this difficulty 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 Nineties. If merely being an early investor in an organization would outline one as a founder, then each one who pays US taxes might be thought-about a Tesla founder due to the big quantities of federal contracts that prop the EV maker up.
Musk shouldered his approach into the status of being a founding father of a few of these corporations to be able to enhance his personal picture. It offers a critical 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 critical 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 writer and don’t essentially signify these of RT.