Start with a big idea and tackle anything.
It was an assessment Elon Musk Biographer Michael Vlismas, when asked a year ago how the world's richest man could run Twitter.
The SpaceX owner It recently bought the Bird app for $44 billion (£38 billion) It morphs into an “everything app” called X for a vague purpose.
Modeled China‘s WeChat, it can become your one-stop shop not only for engaging in online debates and posting memes, but also for video calls, podcasts, and even banking.
All this when there was an internet town square committed to free speech, where anyone's views have as much cache as a celebrity, news outlet or academic – no matter how controversial.
A noble goal, many would argue.
But as Vlismas pointed out, plan light on details. and execution – from Huge layoffs that Putting verification behind signatures – It was controversial at best.
“He always has a grand vision, but in this case the details were a quagmire for him,” Vlismas says.
“Perhaps it shows that you can't be everything to everyone – and that's the challenge with the ‘everything app.'
“It has to be a clear vision of what he wants out of it.”
Musk's own Twitter timeline has rarely been dull, so perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that once he led the line, Twitter's own timeline would follow suit.
His first act (except carried the sink at the firm's San Francisco headquarters for the sake of a bad word) fired executives and thousands of employees quickly suffered the same fate.
Dodgy advertisers, worried about Musk's stance on content moderation, helped drive down revenues and even face bankruptcy within a month. They discussed.
Musk's flagship effort to boost the company's revenue has been to offer verification ticks as a paid subscription benefit, which has expanded to include features like an edit button and long posts.
Fake Tony Blair, OJ Simpson and later the very naughty Super MarioIt was obvious that there were loopholes in this plan so that anyone could pay to add the once-venerable Blue Tick to their account.
According to an analysis by research group AMPLYFI, which used AI to judge user sentiment on Twitter over time, excitement was “the initial catalyst for things to break” for much of the platform's audience.
“It created chaos,” says Drew Benvey, founder of communications agency Battenhall.
“People don't know if they're talking about the real deal.”
With a year to go, which includes the US presidential election, and the continued improvement of artificial intelligence, this is an issue that could become even more serious.
Other changes included the reinstatement of banned accounts such as accounts Andrew Tate and Donald TrumpWhich raises further concerns about the spread of hate speech on the platform.
The Center to Combat Digital Hate (CCDH), the group X sued for relaxing its content moderation standards, says Musk has welcomed back a number of bad actors “with open arms.”
Speaking to mark Muskiversary, CCDH founder Imran Ahmed condemned it as a “gross betrayal of consumers, advertisers and the public at large”.
This, along with the abuse of the company's trust and security teams, damaged Twitter's reputation as a source of verified news. The issue was brought about by the Israel-Hamas war.
And then, of course, it came Rebranding Twitter as X.
The name is so embedded in modern society that “Tweet” entered the Oxford and Cambridge Dictionaries, and now a name that once would have done nothing but cast doubt on your browsing history.
“He destroyed the business”
Musk said Twitter's transition from a conversational store to an everything app meant the name no longer made sense. and said the rebranding reflects its ambitions.
Of course, some may have noticed the obvious trend and concluded that he just likes the letter X.
Not only is it part of the name of his successful rocket company, but one of his children; its AI startup; and the Internet banking firm he founded that became PayPal.
Social media expert Beth Carroll of Wunderman Thompson is skeptical of Musk's apparent plans.
“There's a vague possibility that it has a bigger picture idea, this super app like WeChat, and if it delivers, it could have a viable product,” he says.
“But now it just destroyed the business.”
Indeed, earlier this year the company was valued at less than a third of Musk's $44 billion.
Even Hiring Linda IacarinoNBCUniversal's seasoned figure as CEO did little to repair the monetary or reputational damage.
We must remember, Carroll says, that Musk Tried desperately to back out of buying TwitterAnd all the challenges he's faced are perhaps a sign of why.
Can Musk really do it all?
Despite all that, for its remaining users—whether enthusiastic or reluctant—X remains at its best in this particular type of social media, where real-time updates reign supreme.
For Dr Annemarie Hanlon, lecturer in digital and social marketing at Cranfield School of Management, future competitors are ‘confused' Mastodon that Meta“core” of threads Couldn't offer a comparable experience.
“The app for everything is still a work in progress,” he says.
“But when Threads launched, everyone said, ‘It's the death of Twitter.' And it wasn't.”
Of course, given the contempt Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have for each other Don't expect the Meta boss to abandon his company's new app anytime soon.
And as for the “death of Twitter,” Musk is happy to take charge, X Phoenix rising from the ashes.
But unlike SpaceX rockets (Well, most of them), biographer Vlismas doubts how far he can fly.
“With SpaceX, the grand vision is colonizing Mars,” he says.
“But the main goal is to launch rockets into space, and it's very efficient.”
“If you wanted to do something else with it, it defeats that purpose.
“The longer X is so slightly messed up, the worse it is. And the more people run away.”