“Victim’s Name: The Story of X and Twitter’s Audacious Rebranding”

By | July 31, 2023



Twitter, one of the most popular social media platforms, has recently rebranded itself as X. This unexpected move has received widespread mockery and speculation about its impact. The letter “X” has historically been associated with blanks or unknowns, but it has also taken on various meanings throughout history. In the 1940s, “X factor” emerged as a catch-all term in military circles. Additionally, the letter has been used to represent pornographic movies and has appeared in pop culture phenomena like “The X-Men” and “The X-Files.” While X may seem like a fitting name for Twitter, the platform’s existing name and widespread usage of terms like “tweet” may prevent the rebranding from being successful. Mark Peters reported

Innovative Rebranding: Twitter Becomes X

In one of the most audacious — and widely mocked — rebrands in recent times, Twitter has taken a bold step and transformed itself into X. This renaming decision has sparked curiosity and speculation about its potential impact. However, it is undeniably another intriguing chapter in the story of a versatile letter that has historically been associated with blanks, such as “X factors” and “X marks the spot.”

The Evolution of X

The earliest instances of X having a meaning beyond its literal representation can be traced back to Old English. During this period, X was used to refer to concepts like “X height” or “X length.” The significance of X gained momentum in the 1600s when it began to be employed in mathematics to denote a variable or unknown quantity. While X has accumulated various meanings over time, including representing the Roman numeral for 10, signifying a kiss (as in “XO”), referencing hard liquor, and serving as an abbreviation for “extreme” and “extra,” its association with a variable or blank notion is the most significant.

The Rise of X as a Catch-All Label

In the 1940s, X started to gain popularity as a catch-all label. It first emerged in military circles with the term “X factor,” which referred to aspects of a serviceman’s life that had no civilian equivalent, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary. This term gradually permeated into broader usage. The phrase “X something out,” meaning to eliminate or cancel something, has been in use since at least 1942. Interestingly, the first recorded use of X in relation to pornographic movies, as mentioned in a 1950 report of the British Parliament, suggests that the term was coined to label the unspeakable. The report recommended the establishment of a new film category, potentially labeled as “X,” from which children under 16 should be entirely excluded. Thus, X not only represents a blank but can also create a censorship bleep — or a series of bleeps.

X in Pop Culture

Various pop culture phenomena have embraced the enigmatic nature of X. For example, the 1961 comic book “The X-Men” inspired numerous movies decades later, with the X representing mutants. Similarly, the TV series “The X-Files” features X as a symbol representing aliens, beyond the comprehension of the average person. X also represents human oddities, as demonstrated by the groundbreaking LA punk band X.

X: A Potential Fit for Twitter

In many ways, X could be a fitting name for Twitter, as the platform offers individuals an opportunity to make their mark and fill in the blank. However, the widespread familiarity and usage of the terms “Twitter” and “tweet” make it highly likely that, at least in common parlance, X will be phased out or X’d out. While X may have been a perfect choice for Twitter, the platform’s existing name, deeply entrenched in the English language, poses a significant hurdle to overcome.


As the story of X continues to unfold, the renaming of Twitter to X represents a bold move that will undoubtedly attract attention. Only time will reveal the true impact of this audacious rebranding endeavor.

Mark Peters is the author of “Bullshit: A Lexicon.”


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