Like a canary in a coal mine, the little blue bird silhouette that embodied Twitter’s brand for well over a decade officially croaked yesterday as Elon Musk foisted the letter 𝕏 on us, signifying that the worst has yet to come. Things were already off to a poor start for the new logo when Musk jumped the gun by having the old emblem removed from the exterior of Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters, allegedly without a permit for street closure. (The San Francisco Police Department told Hyperallergic that “no crime was committed, and this incident was not a police matter.”)
And per the tradition of reacting to needless change with excessively meme-y sarcasm, social media users did not disappoint in their responses to the logo.
Musk’s rebranding efforts feel like a punishment for our begrudging concession that Twitter was still better than Meta’s new Threads avenue as he pushes to convert the virtual forum into “an everything app” akin to China’s WeChat platform. But for now, instead of tweeting, Musk says that we’ll be “Xeeting” instead (pronunciation not yet disclosed but I’m going with “zeeting” until otherwise advised). Twitter (𝕏itter?) user @sixofsongbirds makes an apt connection between this rebranding and the feeling of Barbie’s dream house being taken over by the “Manosphere.” (Sorry for the Barbie movie spoilers, but it’s kinda on you if you haven’t seen it yet.)
Snowballing from the Manosphere commentary, this rebrand analysis is hilariously accurate. We’ve seen Man Candles, Manscaped, Dove for Men, and all sorts of forced masculine branding of standard products.
Sesame Street’s social media person left us with this iconic tweet, and while it can’t be topped, the rest of Sesame Street’s puppet cast definitely ran with the joke. (Unrelated: Absolutely devastating that I wasn’t following any of these accounts until just now.)
Jokes aside, it looks like Musk has been making moves toward 𝕏 since his PayPal days. His attachment to the letter has shown itself through SpaceX, Tesla’s Model X, xAI, and even in his and Grimes’s first child X Æ A-12, whom he publicly refers to as X. The below video traces Musk’s history and intended meaning with the letter in his business and branding ventures over the last 20 or so years:
Let that sink in …
Joining in on the childish quips is this tweet that picks on the simplicity of 𝕏 as a logo:
But Musk wasn’t the only one captivated by X — it’s actually rather widely used in branding. Both Meta and Microsoft (through Xbox) actually have trademarks on the letter for communications and social media branding which could yield future legal problems for Musk down the line. Here are some other examples of X being used for branding well before Musk went public with his idea for the “everything app.”
Meanwhile, some users offered truths about some of the darker undertones of the symbolism, drawing parallels to the Confederate flag in light of Musk’s continued support of “free speech” coming from known racists and the noteworthy spike in hate speech after he took over as CEO of the platform.
There’s also the known fact that the letter X has … uh … adult connotations, as one user indicated below:
On another note, I thought I’d also spotlight this fun redesign that pays homage to the bird logo:
And last but not least, let us pay our respects to the social media user who is braver than any US Marine for moving on in spite of what horrors they’ve witnessed …