In October of 2022, Twitter was bought by Elon Musk for a cool $44 billion, making him the owner of six companies, the others being Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, xAi and The Boring Company.
One year later, Musk rebranded Twitter to X. According to Jordan Valinsky for CNN Business, Musk had warned prior to the rebranding that Twitter, facing steep losses in ad revenue, was on the edge of bankruptcy.
Linda Yaccarino, who was named CEO of the company in June, explained on X that the platform’s rebranding is “a second chance to make another big impression. Twitter made one massive impression and changed the way we communicate. Now, X will go further, transforming the global town square.”
Roston Willis Jr., assistant professor of digital and social media marketing, shared his thoughts on the strategy behind companies rebranding. He explained that it is similar to going back to a restaurant where you had a bad experience if it has a “new ownership” sign out front. You give the restaurant a second chance because you attribute the experience to the past owner, not to the place.
“I think that there is a psychological value when it comes to seeing things as new,” Willis said. “By associating your experience to a new thing, it gives people the opportunity to come back and see what’s fresh, what’s new, and what’s different.”
Emma Hannick, junior marketing major, said she thinks that the Twitter rebranding may not have been the right decision, however.
“I think the rebranding was totally unnecessary, mainly because people still refer to it as Twitter and now it has a whole connotation of being a Tesla/Space X app,” Hannick said.
Hannah Gordon, junior music and English double major, said she agreed.
“I think the change from Twitter to X definitely made the app less relevant,” Gordon said. “Like how HBOMax changed to just Max. What was the point? Especially if it’s essentially the same thing. It just makes the app less marketable and [more] confusing.”
X’s user base continued on a downward spiral, falling by 15% by the end of October, while its ad revenue declined by 54%. But, according to Alexa Corse for the Wall Street Journal, CEO Yaccarino is utilizing her background in television to bring exclusive shows to X in collaboration with Range Media Partners. A total of 10 shows were announced on Jan. 9, including shows hosted by former CNN host Don Lemon, former Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and sports commentator Jim Rome.
“I would not watch the shows on X. Honestly, that just seems like a weird concept to me. X is not Youtube. Twitter never had shows as far as I’m aware,” Gordon said. “It just seems weird to have shows on a social media app. I know Instagram has reels but those are short-form content. I wouldn’t trust the news either if the shows are going to be news-related. Social media apps are not reliable sources of news, in general.”
Hannick shared Gordon’s sentiment.
“I can’t imagine people going to X to watch a certain show and frankly it’s not a new idea,” said Hannick. “Other platforms like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon already do the same thing and miss the mark more than they make it.”
Since the shows have not yet launched, only time will tell if they bring X the boost it needs.
“This is X’s way of changing the dynamics of social media and going, ‘We’re going to appeal to this market, this demographic, and we’re going to do as Fox did and like CNN did by saying if you come on this platform, you’re going to get the content that’s associated with it,’” Willis said. Willis said. “They recognize that they don’t just want users on their platform. They want customers. Customers spend money. Users just consume.”