Everything You Need To Know About "The Everything App" (Also Known As X, Formerly Twitter)

Caitlin HightowerMarch 28, 2024News

In the constantly changing landscape of social media, Elon Musk is no stranger to controversy - this is the man who famously challenged fellow tech mogul and Brazilian jiu-jitsu enthusiast Mark Zuckerberg to a cage match only to push the Meta founder to publicly call off the fight due to Musk being all talk and no action. Currently, Musk is months deep in his mission to transform the app formerly known as Twitter into more than just a microblogging platform. With a vision of elusive 'super apps' that have thrived in Asia, Musk has rebranded Twitter to 'X,' heralding an attempt at a new era of comprehensive communication.

On an ‘Everything App’ Mission

Although there haven’t been any successful examples in the U.S. market, Musk is not the first in Silicon Valley to chase the dream of an 'everything app.' Tech visionaries like Mark Zuckerberg of Meta, Dara Khosrowshahi of Uber, and Evan Spiegel of Snap Inc. have all aimed to replicate the success of international counterparts like WeChat, a dominant force with over a billion users in China. However, factors such as cultural differences, regulatory hurdles, and the ingrained preference for single-service apps in the U.S. have made all previous attempts unsuccessful.

Undeterred, Musk, who officially purchased the previously publicly traded Twitter in October 2022, has been transparent about his intent to create an ‘everything app’ since before the deal was finalized. In the time since, he has boldly renamed it 'X,' as the first of many steps towards his goal to create a new, all-encompassing digital experience. The shift from the iconic bird logo to the letter X is truly symbolic, essentially wiping out more than a decade of Twitter's visual identity overnight.

A Confusing Shift for Current Tweeters

With an active user base already accustomed to specialized apps for various purposes, Musk now faces the challenge of acclimating existing users to a multiservice platform they never asked for in the first place. Unsurprisingly, U.S. customers are not fond of feeling overly dependent on a single platform for their daily needs, a factor for which the billionaire seems to have little concern. Chris Messina, a tech entrepreneur and creator of the hashtag, criticized Musk for having "taken a wrecking ball to Twitter," predicting the addition of a slew of random functionalities likely will not resonate with the current user base. It seems Messina understands the app’s ecosystem better than Musk did, as the platform had an 18% drop in active U.S. users and a 54% drop in revenue one year after the purchase. 

An Ambiguous Blueprint

Despite his grand ambitions (read: delusions of grandeur), details about the functionality and appearance of Musk’s dream 'everything app' remain not entirely clear. Musk's posts on the platform and claims to various outlets have hinted at everything from comprehensive communications and an expansion into the financial realm with peer-to-peer payments, to pivoting into a video-first platform and more. While these goals are all laid out on the platform’s blog , an actionable roadmap of how he’ll make it all come together - and get user buy-in - has yet to be unveiled.

Everything That’s Happened Since Twitter Became X: The ‘Everything App’

In late July 2023, the billionaire flipped the switch for the big name change, marking the end of an online era. While the name change and logo update were the most memorable and jarring shifts at that moment, several alterations took place at this time. July also brought the introduction of X’s ads revenue sharing program and preparation towards a job listing feature to compete with LinkedIn’s success.

The month of August brought on the renaming of TweetDeck to XPro, and this was the month that the dashboard tool was changed to a subscription-only product. Impression requirements for creators to be eligible for ads revenue sharing were reduced from 15 million to 5 million, and paid users were given the option to hide their noticeable blue verified checkmarks and their Likes tabs. Other notable announcements in August were that video calling would soon be added to X, headlines for news links would be hidden to “improve the aesthetics ”, the platform confirmed it was working to remove the preexisting ban on political ads , and Musk said the removal of the ‘block’ feature was imminent.  

In September, X made more significant changes to its platform including announcing the discontinuation of the Circles feature, which had allowed users to share posts with a select audience, similar to Instagram's Close Friends. Elon Musk hinted at a potential shift to a subscription-based model during a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, citing the need to combat bots. Meanwhile, X introduced government ID-based verification for paid users, aiming to prevent impersonation. Additionally, concerns arose when unlabeled ads appeared in users' feeds, prompting questions about the platform’s transparency - or lack thereof.  

The platform did in fact shut down its Circles feature in October and followed through on its plan to eliminate headlines from link preview posts. The same month, X began testing a $1 annual subscription in select markets to combat spam and manipulation, leveraging payment, phone, and ID verification methods. X introduced new measures for private Communities, allowing admins to have the option to require users to answer questions before joining to deter spammers. October was also when X Corp. faced a trademark lawsuit from ad agency X Social Media, alleging trademark infringement over the use of the ‘X’ mark. 

In November 2023, X faced setbacks as major advertisers stopped advertising on the platform following Musk's endorsement of controversial conspiracy theories. Amidst the backlash Musk doubled down and publicly defended his actions, receiving support from the X CEO Linda Yaccarino. November was the month X introduced the job search tool that had been in the works as part of its ambition to become an ‘everything app,’ enabling verified organizations to post job listings. This was also when X faced scrutiny over all the issues with unlabeled ads, prompting an FTC complaint filed by Check My Ads. 

During the month of December, Elon Musk officially announced plans to introduce video to Spaces , the app’s live conversation feature, aiming to enhance user engagement without relying on third-party platforms. xAI's chatbot 'Grok' debuted for U.S. X Premium+ subscribers during this month, albeit in beta form, with Musk acknowledging expected challenges in its initial phase. Additionally, X expanded its payment processing capabilities, obtaining licenses in a dozen U.S. states as part of the billionaire's ambition to add banking to the list of things included in his ‘everything app’.

January 2024 brought a new year - and more new developments at X. The company announced plans to hire 100 content moderators for a new "Trust and Safety" center in Austin, signaling a shift towards addressing content moderation concerns. Support for NFT profile pictures for paid subscribers was quietly removed from X, a feature introduced by previous management two years prior. X outlined plans to introduce peer-to-peer payments and enhance AI capabilities in 2024, aiming to expand user utility and commerce opportunities. Headline previews were once again a subject of confusion , with the platform adding them back in, then removing them again, and then adding them in once more all within a couple of days. The app launched a verified organizations feature for small businesses, introducing a $200 per month tier in addition to the existing $1,000 per month feature for larger businesses. 

In February 2024, X secured a partnership with BetMGM to introduce sports betting services on the platform, starting with pro football odds for U.S. users. This pairing of social media and sports betting is the first of its kind. February was also when the app formerly known as Twitter revealed plans to allow advertisers to run ads alongside a "curated list" of creators , in an attempt to prevent ads from appearing next to controversial content. Furthermore, the company found itself in a legal battle against the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) over accusations of spreading false and misleading claims about X. This lawsuit was dismissed by the judge in late March.

So far in March, former Twitter executives, including ex-CEO Parag Agrawal, have sued Musk for over $128 million in owed severance payments. Elon Musk announced plans to launch a video streaming app for Samsung and Amazon smart TVs, aiming to expand X's reach as it works to become an ‘everything app.’ The new voice call feature on the app was activated, which led to privacy concerns as default settings of the feature leaked users’ IP addresses . Last on the list of major updates (for now!) is X’s introduction of the ability for Premium+ users and verified organizations to publish articles directly on the platform, allowing for longer posts with text formatting and embedded media. 

Conclusion: X - Everything or Nothing

As X embarks on this transformative journey, the world watches with a little anticipation and a lot of skepticism. Musk's vision for an 'everything app' faces numerous hurdles, but if successful, X could reshape the entire digital landscape and offer users an unprecedented, all-encompassing experience. The evolution from Twitter to X is not merely a rebranding; it's a paradigm shift, a bold step into uncharted territory that could offer an exciting new user experience or end with X taking the top spot in future “Apps You Forgot Ever Existed” listicles five to ten years from now. Time will tell!

Enjoy what you read? Pass it along!

© 2024 BrandGlue. All Rights Reserved.