In a quick test of social media's pervasiveness: can you name four social media platforms off the top of your head? Of course you can. Most likely, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter spring to mind.
However, the landscape has shifted, with Twitter undergoing a radical transformation at the hands of Elon Musk, resulting in its rebranding to X.
This post delves into the implications of the changes at X and the impact on the social media landscape more generally.
The Challenge of Rebranding
Rebranding a household name is no small feat as it demands that users adapt and embrace a new identity. It reminds me of the years and years when Snickers bars were still referred to as Marathons, highlighting how ingrained brand names become in our vocabulary.
Elon Musk's announcement of changing Twitter's name to X was met with resistance, and although the discontent has shifted from the name change to other platform issues, it showcases the complexity of rebranding. The iconic bird logo and terms like 'Tweet' or 'Re-Tweet' are synonymous with Twitter, and the old logo will still linger in most email footers and websites for a long time to come.
The State of X/Twitter
X has undergone significant changes in the past year.
From introducing longer form posts, full-length video uploads and editable posts, to subscription-based follows and the monetisation of verification ticks, 'X' is continually evolving.
Yet, despite these innovations, the platform still grapples with persistent issues like bot activity, political polarisation, and misinformation. This is driving users and, in turn, advertisers away and prompting a shift towards new features and monetising user access.
The Near Future of Social Media
X is likely here to stay, but its future will undoubtedly involve more changes and adaptations.
Elon Musk has made no secret of his intention to move into payments banking and commerce, for example.
The platform is, however, facing a universal challenge that transcends X, as user behaviours change and social media giants collectively strive to become all-encompassing hubs of online activity.
In regions like Australia and New Zealand, we are already seeing experiments with paid posting access, maintaining free access for readers, but generating necessary revenue amidst declining advertising income.
Meta is introducing a paid option in the European Union to remove adverts from Facebook and Instagram feeds for £10 a month.
In some ways, the evolution of X is just one example of the dynamic nature of social media, highlighting both the opportunities and challenges that will come with change.
Whether you have embraced X, stuck with calling it Twitter out of nostalgia or habit, or moved onto other platforms like Threads, you are unlikely to shake social media from your existence.
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