Following months of drama and legal jostling, it looks like Elon Musk’s deal to buy Twitter will go ahead after all. In a series of tweets posted after the news broke, Musk suggested that he's buying the social media platform as part of a bigger plan to build “X, the everything app”.
“Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app,” the billionaire tweeted.
When someone suggested it would be easier to just launch X from scratch, he replied: “Twitter probably accelerates X by three to five years, but I could be wrong."
What exactly X involves, however, is far from clear.
One of the first mentions of X can be found in a presentation Musk gave prospective Twitter investors, which highlighted his bold vision for the platform. According to the New York Times, the documents speak of a new product called X, with an aim of attracting over 104 million users by 2028.
Many people are speculating that X is likely to take influence from the all-encompassing “super-apps” of Asia that feature social media, instant messaging, and digital payment services all in one place. The idea is basically to have a single app that provides all the services of Twitter, Whatsapp, Netflix, PayPal, Uber, and Uber Eats.
The biggest and best known of these is WeChat, a wildly popular Chinese instant messaging, social media, and mobile payment app that has over 1 billion users. You can pretty much do everything on WeChat, from chatting with friends and sharing images to booking movie tickets and paying at a street market.
In today's China, practically everything is purchased through WeChat or another online payment platform called Alipay. Even panhandlers sleeping on the street are said to have QR codes for donations.
Speaking at a town hall with Twitter employees back in June, Musk reportedly expressed some beaming admiration for the WeChat model.
“I think an important goal for Twitter would be to try to include as much of the country, as much of the world, as possible,” Musk told the crowd. “You basically live on WeChat in China because it’s so usable and helpful to daily life, and I think if we can achieve that, or even get close to that at Twitter, it would be an immense success.”
As for the name of the “everything app,” it’s pretty clear that Musk has a thing for the letter X. Musk was one of the co-founders of X.com, an early online bank that served as a predecessor to PayPal. He then went on to establish SpaceX.
Ardent Musk fanboys will also be quick to point out that his child with music artist Grimes is called “X Æ A-12 Musk” or X for short.
Just like anything that Musk tweets, it's difficult to know much about how or when X will actually come to fruition. However, also typical of Musk, he has already done a good job at building hype around his latest project.