There are two really difficult things in the contemporary world: consolidating a brand in the market and, above all, for this brand to transcend its commercial function and end up becoming an icon of popular culture. Well then: if a survey were carried out in the four cardinal points of the planet, asking individuals from different cultures about the most recognizable brands of the 21st century, there is no doubt that Twitter would be one of them. And, obviously, when you think of this social network, the little blue bird that serves as its logo immediately comes to mind. Few symbols say so much with so little. On a par with Coca-Cola or McDonald’s, Twitter and its blue bird are indelibly tattooed on the skin of popular culture. Hence, the decision of its all-powerful owner, Elon Musk, to change the logo of this company as a step prior to a new name is surprising.
Last Saturday, Musk published a series of tweets in which he reported the change of the Twitter logo, which would abandon the usual blue bird to identify itself with an X with a special design. The North American billionaire’s attraction to X dates back to 2007, when he bought the X.com domain. Since then, the X has become a kind of fetish that he has used on numerous occasions. That a businessman – no matter how capricious his temperament may be – decides to discard an image as emblematic as that of the blue bird on Twitter can only be due to a suicidal drive that is impossible to understand. It is true that the X is the most powerful letter in the alphabet and one of the symbols with the longest journey in the history of humanity: it has been used in fields as varied as algebra, science, astronomy or spirituality. Perhaps for Elon Musk this letter has a special meaning because he himself belongs to that “generation X” that followed that of the “baby boomers”. But, despite the greater semantic density and historical fortune that a symbol like the X has had, what seems evident is that as an identifier for the social network Twitter is doomed to failure and to cause unquantifiable damage to the company.
Since he acquired this social network, Musk has been behaving more like a capricious demiurge than a seasoned businessman. As if it were a voice-over that has the power to move the pieces of a story at will, the founder of Tesla does not stop intervening on Twitter to make announcements that are each more bizarre and nonsensical. It is his toy and, with it, he does whatever he wants. Against the logic not only of business, but of pop culture itself, Musk has decided that the universal little blue bird should stop flying to replace it with an X that, in the context of Twitter, says nothing. His money is And he’s giving you a crash course in how to lose it.