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Monday, May 27
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

OPINION: The further collapse of Elon Musk's Twitter

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Back in April, I wrote an article about Elon Musk’s reign as Twitter CEO, from the stunted implementation of Twitter Blue to the internal controversies that tortured the company. After that article, I thought to myself that surely it couldn’t get much worse. 

It got worse. 

A lot has changed since April. For one, Musk is no longer CEO, being replaced with Linda Yaccarino. Despite this shift, it still looks like Musk has an oversized influence on the company’s actions. His branding shakeup and further controversies have irreparably changed the social media site. 

I should probably address the elephant in the room – Twitter isn’t Twitter anymore. It’s X.  

Logging into Twitter now, you’ll see a large X as the logo rather than a blue bird. Apparently, Musk’s ultimate vision for the app formerly known as Twitter is an “everything app,” somewhere where people can post, bank and watch videos.  

It’s painfully obvious how bad this rebrand is. Twitter has brand recognition unlike almost any other social media site. If you say “tweet,” I know exactly what you mean. Its iconic branding is part of the reason it cost billions of dollars to buy. 

Now, a tweet is just a “post.” Instead of a friendly bird, the icon is a depressing black X. Twitter, which changed so much of the social media landscape into what it is today, has been stripped of what made it so popular and internet-friendly in the first place. It doesn’t need to be an everything app, it just needs to let me post something funny. 

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The most indicative event surrounding the rebrand was the giant flashing X sign installed on top of Twitter’s headquarters. The sign sent blinding light directly into the apartment building across the street before being removed shortly afterwards by the city. That’s what X stands for – a huge headache for everyone trying to live with it. 

Along with this, Musk’s other decisions have made life on X a pain. One of the most annoying on the user side are Blue subscribers’ “prioritized rankings.”  

What that translates to is that every popular thread you click on is dominated by the comments of Blue subscribers – which can range between actually relevant and completely nonsensical. Instead of showing the top comments at the top, X displays them below the uncoordinated ramblings of whoever paid $8 this month. 

Then there was the rate limit, which limited how many tweets a user could read. Blue subscribers could read 6,000 posts per day, while unverified accounts were limited to 600. 

Musk eventually walked back this decision, since it’s incredibly nonsensical. Didn’t he get the memo that social media apps are meant to accommodate addictive endless scrolling?  

This decision probably didn’t go over well with advertisers either. X’s ad sales have dropped 59 percent over the last year, and it’ll most likely only get worse. With chaos reigning publicly and privately on the site, advertisers aren’t too confident in the bang for their buck – for good reason. 

What was once my beloved platform has fallen into disrepair. I find myself spending less time scrolling through it. I feel ashamed clicking on the “X” on my homescreen instead of the joyful blue bird. If the winds keep turning the way they are, I wouldn’t be shocked if more and more people start feeling like I do. 

The best people on X, the people whose tweets I logged in daily to see, are fleeing to alternatives like Bluesky – developed by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey – and Meta’s Threads. Yeah, it’s a rough day on the internet when Mark Zuckerberg comes out looking like the hero. 

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While none of these have come even close to surpassing Twitter’s market dominance, I can’t help but feel that we’re hearing the final nails being hammered into its coffin. 

I’ll admit, I still log in to X every so often, but it’s usually from some sick sense of schadenfreude. What can Musk mess up next? I usually only have to wait a few hours to see. 

Danny William (they/them) is a sophomore studying media. 

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