X under Elon Musk After a year, what’s next for X?

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Elon Musk entered Twitter’s (now X) headquarters a year ago after purchasing the company and was carrying a washbasin. “Let that sink in,” he joked before dismissing a sizable portion of the crew.

It was the first taste of a frenetic twelve months of unpredictable upheaval, which included the company’s rebranding to X.

X has shown remarkable resilience in certain aspects. It endures in spite of its circling rivals, both old and new.

But what’s next for X, with marketers on the defensive and user stats questionable?

The challenge

The number of users of social media giant is impossible to estimate with precision because the corporation withholds those statistics. However, the platform is not utilized as often as it once was, according to a number of analytics companies.

Everything is basically down compared to last year, stated David Carr of SimilarWeb, an online analytics company.

Twitter’s investor and outspoken opponent of Mr. Musk’s direction, Ross Gerber, claimed the service is “dying”.

Reality and fantasy are two different things. And the truth is that Twitter has to be saved because it is dying, he remarked.

Several well-known figures have undoubtedly left the platform in the past year.

After paying for blue tick verification, a move made by Mr. Musk, Madeleine Dunne, a former journalist now employed by digital marketing business Story Shop, said she has essentially stopped using the platform since it is now “hard to know who to trust.”

Entering X is akin to boarding a sinking ship. There is very little content on the ‘For You’ page that genuinely interests me, as verified individuals on X Premium stifle everyone else, she stated.

Subscriptions vs advertising

The primary obstacle facing X, as well as Twitter prior to it, is generating revenue. Mr. Musk has drastically reduced costs through layoffs in order to achieve that goal, a procedure that has been painful for employees.

Moderator Melissa Ingle claimed her “stomach dropped” when her workplace logins suddenly stopped functioning.

She told the BBC, “It was a very, very bad time for me.”

Twitter’s primary source of funding has always been advertising, but Mr. Musk has attempted to diversify that by charging users for additional services like a blue tick. He recently revealed that there will be two additional premium subscription tiers.

Though concerning for Mr. Musk, the platform is still mostly dependent on ad revenue, which hasn’t improved much despite those advancements.

Third-party data indicates that since Mr. Musk acquired the business, the platform’s monthly US ad income has decreased by at least 55% annually. Even prior to Mr. Musk’s involvement, the company had trouble breaking even and had only turned a profit twice since its founding in 2006.

He acknowledged that it’s a serious problem.

He stated earlier this year that “we need to reach positive cash flow before we have the luxury of anything else.”

Hopes for rebound as ‘everything app’

Establishing a clear separation between Mr. Musk and the platform, the choice of Linda Yaccarino, the former president of advertising at NBCUniversal, as the CEO of X was viewed as a significant step forward for the company.

Dr. Ben Marder, a senior lecturer in marketing at the University of Edinburgh Business School, expressed his opinion that Ms. Yaccarino had been “rather strong-armed by Elon to focus on quick revenue fixes, which leaves only weapons in the arsenal that are more than likely to backfire – like the subscription model” rather than “given the space needed to innovate.”

Mr. Musk encourages his staff to have big ideas. He has much bigger plans for the platform than merely a social networking business in the long run. He envisions X as “an everything app.”

“I guess you will have to stay tuned to find out” was his response when the BBC asked him what this meant earlier this year.

Ms. Yaccarino provided what was arguably the most detailed public explanation of the platform’s potential growth in July.

“X is the future state of unlimited interactivity – centred in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking – creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services, and opportunities,” she stated.

“Powered by AI, X will connect us all in ways we’re just beginning to imagine”.

Mr. Musk has already begun to expand Twitter’s offerings. He recorded a live webcast of himself playing video games earlier this month. He believes that X might rival Twitch and other apps.

He introduced a new audio and video calling service on Thursday that doesn’t require a phone number. When opening the app, a number of users on the platform saw a notice saying, “Audio and video calls are here!”

Finally, there are Mr. Musk’s ambitions for X banking.

The New York Times, which obtained access to the pitch deck that Elon Musk presented to potential investors last year, claims that X was expected to generate $15 million in revenue from a payments business in 2023, with that amount expected to increase to roughly $1.3 billion by 2028.

According to Mr. Gerber, the main reason he invested was because Elon Musk was involved.

In many respects, their proposal really said, ‘We’re not sure what this will be. But have faith in us—Elon is going to do something truly incredible, he remarked.

However, a year later, Mr. Musk’s goals for the company have left him perplexed. “Will he give in on his strictures regarding speech in order to win back sponsors? Since that’s ultimately what matters,” he remarked.

Moderation headache

Eliminating extreme content appears to be a persistent issue for X.

A week after being reported to moderators, roughly 86% of a batch of 300 nasty postings were still hosted by the platform, according to research by the Centre for Countering Digital Hate. Due to its assertions, the group and the platform are embroiled in a legal struggle.

“Musk’s 12 months at the helm of X is a perfect case study of how naïve it is to expect digital platforms to self-regulate,” stated the group’s founder, Imran Ahmed.

There are many obstacles facing X, but it doesn’t seem like they have diminished Mr. Musk’s aspirations too much. On the website he paid a lot of money to purchase, his most popular post says, “X as humanity’s collective consciousness.”

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