Imagine waking up to an unfamiliar 'X' icon on your smartphone, where your favorite bird-icon Twitter app used to be! Sounds bizarre, right? Twitter, with its universally understood terminology and profound brand equity, wouldn't simply fade away overnight. Or would it?
Well, this speculation could turn into reality soon, thanks to Elon Musk and his accelerating chatter about 'X'—his ambitious plan for a multi-functional app. This concept seems to encompass in-stream payments, an intensified focus on video content, and an assortment of potential features, including job listings and dating elements.
x— Andrea Conway (@ehikian) June 1, 2023
In Musk's vision, the essence of Twitter 2.0 transcends the constraints of the 'Twitter' name, leading him to address the company as 'X slash Twitter' in interviews. He's also dropping hints about an impending app name change, with Twitter's staff starting to adopt the 'X' moniker.
But what exactly is 'X'?
Musk conceptualized 'X' in 1999, launching his first online banking startup, X.com. X.com later merged with finance startup Confinity, resulting in PayPal—a name that was settled upon after Musk was removed as CEO due to disagreements about the company's direction. Musk, however, was keen on retaining the X.com name, for he had grand plans for it.
He envisions PayPal as a half-baked version of what could be achieved with online transactions. Musk's concept of X intended to cater to a wider range of uses and business opportunities, starting with payments and branching out into every conceivable type of transactional interaction.
In essence, Musk perceives X.com as the Western counterpart of WeChat, the Chinese digital behemoth. WeChat serves as a digital identity for billions of Chinese users, facilitating transactions, bill payments, grocery shopping, and more, making it a personal digital barcode that connects users to the broader Chinese economy.