In a recent, very bold, rebranding campaign we waved goodbye to the so-called end of a social media era that has been around since 2006… so long Twitter! But does X bring with it a new era for the micro-blogging site?
X reflects Elon Musk’s vision for an innovative “everything-app” experience, signalling a transformative phase for the platform. A lot has changed since tech entrepreneur Elon Musk became CEO of the company, but is X a step too far… or is it an iconic power move from Musk?
His ambition for X is to turn it into a “super-app”, and Musk has stated that:
I hope to turn Twitter into an “everything app” called X, which would encompass not only social networking but also banking and shopping.
What is a super app?
Although super apps are still very much in their infancy it does mean that there is scope to mature and improve. Simply put, a super app resembles a Swiss army knife, encompassing a multitude of purposeful tools. Only new tools (mini-apps) can be added or removed according to the user’s requirements. Operating on a platform offering a wide array of frequently used app services like messaging and payment, a super app empowers users to craft personalised user experiences. By handpicking and installing specific mini-apps designed for individual tasks, users can finely tune their interactions.
The benefits of super apps include:
- They can provide a more engaging and powerful experience for users.
- They help industries that adopt them gain a competitive advantage.
- They craft personalised UX.
Now back to X…
What we know so far about X
Just weeks before Musk acquired Twitter for $44 billion, he hinted at his vision for the social media platform, tweeting that “Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app.”
Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 4, 2022
In his hopes to turn Twitter into a super app it was a hypothetical coin-flip to decide whether to rebrand Twitter, or start something completely different.
In China, users basically live on WeChat, Musk said, “because it’s so usable and helpful to daily life, and I think if we can achieve that, or even get close to that at Twitter, it would be an immense success.” He also suggested that Twitter’s user base could grow from just over 200 million to “at least a billion people,” CNN reported.
In 2023, Twitter currently has 353.90 million users, a 3.93% decrease from 2022. Users are expected to decrease further to 335 million by 2024, a decline of 5.14% compared to 2023; is Musk’s ambitious billion user base just a fanciful dream?
No more headlines
Anyone can come to the platform and have their say. If we want to know what a particular person – perhaps a politician, journalist, activist, or celebrity – thinks about an issue, it’s often the first place to look.
Statistics suggest that the main reasons Twitter/X is used in the US are “to get news” and “for entertainment”.
But the latest controversy (as of 23rd August 2023) surrounding X is the apparent removal of headlines from news links in an attempt to drive subscriptions to the app’s premium service. The proposed new headline rules could have a huge impact on writers, journalists, and other creators using headlines to gather traffic.
Unable to block users
Reportedly, Musk is planning to eliminate the option for users to block others on the app, arguing that he finds the feature nonsensical. The functionality in question, known as the block feature on X, is designed to grant users control over their interactions within the app.
The blocking capability on X serves as a means for users to limit the access of specific accounts. This includes preventing these accounts from following the user, viewing their tweets, and engaging with them in various ways. Frequently, users employ the block function to safeguard themselves from particular content or instances of unconventional behaviour on the platform. Such behaviour might encompass harassment or the issuance of threats directed at the user.
There’ll no doubt be more controversies to add to this list…