X loses Bluebird and targets WeChat. Did Musk mess up a year after acquiring Twitter?

Our goal is simple: make X the coolest, most enjoyable place on the Internet.

At the end of October, the original Twitter, now X, celebrated its first anniversary by "opening the champagne" on its official account.

One year after swaggering into the X headquarters carrying a sink, has Musk gotten the results he wanted? All interpretation rights rest with Musk himself.

At the all-employee meeting on the first anniversary, Musk said that X will continue to work towards universal applications, including social networking, video, calling, recruitment, dating, and payment.

Maybe you will think this is like WeChat, but Musk has made it clear that he wants to surpass WeChat.

The report card of survival in danger, the resolute Musk

A year ago, Musk acquired X for $44 billion. Now, X’s latest stock valuation is $19 billion, a cut in half.

Even if Taishan collapses, his appearance remains unchanged, and then he can control his interests and losses. Musk is still a "sunny and cheerful big boy" in front of his employees.

X reported in September that the number of daily active users was 245 million, down from the 259.4 million that Musk shared in November 2022, but higher than the 237.8 million in the second quarter of 2022 before Musk's acquisition.

Musk also said at the all-staff meeting that X has more than 500 million users every month, about 500 million posts every day, about 1 million new users register every day, user usage time has increased, and average daily spending on X exceeds 32 minutes.

The official exudes a happy atmosphere, but third-party data pours cold water on it.

Sensor Tower statistics found that compared to October last year, X app’s daily active users dropped by 16% in September this year.

Data from Similarweb also shows that from websites to mobile applications, the traffic of all aspects of

If Musk wants to increase traffic to his personal homepage, there must be a cheaper and easier way than $44 billion.

Now that Musk has chosen a more difficult path and spent a lot of money to buy his toys, he will naturally be ruthless when it comes to reducing costs and increasing efficiency.

▲Supervisor X, who was famous for his office sleeping bag photos, was also laid off in February.

The most intuitive thing is that the number of X employees dropped from 7,500 at the end of September last year to 1,500 in April.

The remaining elites were equal to ten. The engineering team overhauled the backend and restructured the information flow and sorting system. The code was reduced from 700,000 lines to 70,000 lines, the computing usage was reduced by 50%, and the ability to process the same request was increased by 80%. Musk was deeply pleased:

My general philosophy with software is that you get one point for adding a line of code and two points for deleting a line of code.

For Musk, layoffs and code changes are just means, and turning X into a "digital city square" is the goal. He hopes to open source algorithms, expel robot trolls, and allow people to publish content as they please "within the scope of the law."

As a result, he quickly fired most of the employees on the trust and safety team, invited Trump to return to X, and completely changed the verification mechanism, changing the "blue V" only for public figures into a paid subscription for all users. As long as the status is active enough and the phone number is provided, you can enjoy the distinguished logo and more features.

Xinzhe Chang once sang, "How can I bear to blame you for making a mistake? I went too far by giving you freedom." Although paid authentication can distinguish zombie accounts, a large number of fake accounts pretending to be brands, celebrities and politicians have also emerged. The "Blue V" subscription was suspended in March and re-launched in April.

▲ Impersonating a Nintendo account and posting Mario with the middle finger raised.

X currently has three paid subscription plans: Basic at $3 per month, Premium at $8 per month, and Premium+ at $16 per month.

Premium and above users are eligible to apply for "Blue V". In order to prevent fake accounts from getting together again, .

The advertising business is X's main bread and butter, but due to the brand safety risks that fake accounts and bad content may bring, many advertisers have fled.

In May, Linda Yaccarino replaced Musk as CEO of X. She had led the global advertising business at NBCUniversal, so her appointment was interpreted by the outside world as rebuilding the relationship between Come focus on product and engineering.

On October 26, Linda wrote on the official blog that 90% of the top 100 advertisers returned to X last year. However, today is different from the past. Even if advertisers come back, budgets will not be the same as before.

Guideline data shows that since the acquisition, X’s advertising revenue in the U.S. market has continued to decline, with monthly declines of at least 55% year-on-year.

▲ Picture from: Reuters

No matter how many voices denigrate, Musk said, "Even if there are millions of people, I will die." In July, he drastically changed the name of Twitter to X. The new logo was criticized as an "aesthetic downgrade."

The #GoodbyeTwitter topic, the endless memes, the sudden drop in downloads and the surge in negative comments became the final ripples of "Little Blue Bird".

After being away for half a life, I came back as a teenager. After all the troubles, X is still one of the most trafficked social networks.

Perhaps what pleases Musk most is that the number of Threads users launched by Meta in July is still far less than X, which is far from a concern. A few days ago, Zuckerberg injured his knee during training, and the cage fight between the two was even further out of reach.

An online life without regrets, a universal application that is good at drawing cakes

You can't step into the same river twice, and we can't look at Musk's X in the same light as in the past.

In order to measure the success of a social platform, the original Twitter pioneered the mDAU (monetizable daily active users) indicator.

But Musk felt it was not enough and proposed a new concept: user minutes without regrets. In December last year, he publicly stated that he had heard many people say that they regretted spending two hours on TikTok, and he didn’t want X to do the same.

Li Jiaqi's "lowest price on the entire network" is to prevent others from selling it cheaper, while Musk's "no regrets minutes" is to minimize the appeal of the colorful world and solve everything in people's online lives in place.

Starting from August, when sharing news links from external websites to X, the titles will no longer appear, and some users may think that what they see are just pictures.

▲ Users deliberately used rumors to mock Musk.

This directly affects the probability of jump links and the traffic of news websites, but Musk said it is "for aesthetics" and creators are more welcome to publish long-form content directly on X.

After all, if you publish more than 280 words on X, you have to subscribe to Premium. Musk has made more money. At the same time, novel".

In order to retain users, Musk also bet on video, believing that "video is the best way to consume information." He once considered bringing back Vine, a short video application that was closed by X in 2016. Recently, he also targeted YouTube, hoping to bring it back X is built into the TV.

You can watch YouTube, you can watch X.

Correspondingly, In the future, X is expected to provide 4K live broadcasts of sports games and rocket launches, and also take a share of the video advertising market dominated by YouTube and TikTok.

With richer text and video content, X will also greatly improve semantic search. When users enter search terms, they can see text, images and videos that match the meaning, not just complete text correspondence.

Content is the job of

The audio and video call screenshots were exposed in July. X recently launched an early version on iOS and will soon be released on Android. All accounts can receive calls, including calls from followers or address books, but only Premium users can initiate calls. If you call someone else, they must have sent you a private message at least once.

Audio and video calls will be available for iOS, Android, Mac and PC, and like FaceTime, you can make calls without knowing the phone number. What Musk hopes is that X will eventually become "the global address book."

▲ Audio and video examples.

Future X all-staff meetings will be held quarterly, and the next meeting will use X's video call feature and even be broadcast live so the public can watch.

Musk, who became famous for PayPal, has never given up his ambitions in the financial and payment business.

X has recently been piloted in New Zealand and the Philippines, allowing local users to pay a service fee of US$1 per year to simply and crudely combat robots. If the pilot is successful, it may be rolled out to more places in the future. Musk believes that asking users to pay directly is more clever than asking you to find which picture has a traffic light test question.

$1 per year is insignificant to anyone, but if you want to make 100,000 robots, it is still expensive, you have to have $100,000 to get 100,000 robots, and you need 100,000 payment methods.

In addition to blocking robots on the platform, no more than 1 US dollar is also a way to ask questions, slowly getting users accustomed to paying for X, thus paving the way for future financial functions.

Currently,

When I refer to payments, I’m really referring to a person’s entire financial life. Whether it's transfers, securities or others, as long as money is involved, it can be done on our platform, and you will no longer need a bank account.

Although there is no clear profit model, workplace and dating apps are also within the scope of X.

In August, X updated its privacy policy, stating that it may expand the types of data collected, including work experience, educational experience, employment preferences, job search activities, skills and strengths, etc., to prepare for LinkedIn-like features and to display more relevant advertisment.

Musk believes that what someone has posted on X in the past is an important indicator of talent for companies, even when looking for romantic relationships.

I have to say that Musk’s knowledge is a bit complicated. X is like a hodgepodge of Weibo, Alipay, YouTube, etc., integrating the most mainstream functions of social media, with both creative functions and commercial attributes, but X may not be fully digestible.

Don’t forget, Musk is not only a big dreamer of “I Have a Dream”, but also an entrepreneur who is good at pie-making.

In June of this year, Insider reported that X still had about 500 engineers left, who were constantly working on multiple projects at the same time, and tasks often changed quickly based on Musk's whims, causing them to be unable to complete the work they had started.

The digital square where authenticity is difficult to distinguish, the center of the social media universe

Those who achieve great things don't stick to trivial matters, and nothing can shake Musk's dream: to make an everything app that surpasses WeChat.

The strong man does not look back to see the explosion, and the man who crosses the river does not miss the passing water. In 2021, X's publicly reported financial results showed that advertising accounted for 90% of revenue. In November last year, Musk’s first letter to all employees at

In order to increase sources of income for Linked with AIGC.

On November 4, Musk said that once the early testing is over, Grok AI, the first large-scale model product just released by his xAI, will be open to all X users who subscribe to Premium+. Grok also has the unique ability to obtain real-time information through X Advantages, it seems that I really want to make an X series of family buckets.

Musk doesn’t have to stand still to make money. It’s also good to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors. X The latest way to make money is with usernames. "Forbes" reported that X is formulating a plan to create new revenue by selling abandoned early usernames, some charging as much as $50,000, as if bidding for the overseas version of QQ's beautiful account.

The ideal is lofty, but the reality is skinny. In terms of market performance alone, whether it is subscription or advertising, it has not stopped X's valuation from falling.

When Musk announced the acquisition of

But money is just a number to Musk, and he still has a picture of "university under heaven" in his mind.

For example, he hopes that users with zero foundation can live broadcast and upload videos, without having to go through the lens of the media, so that others can directly see what is happening on the scene in real time. Even text information can be obtained directly from

News has indeed undergone a profound transformation… All humans are the eyes and ears of humanity's collective mind.

Although this is in line with Musk's vision for the "digital city square", he still has too much confidence in human nature, and side effects have repeatedly occurred in X.

The war in recent months has put X to the test. As a result, old videos, fake photos and video games have confused the public. The European Union warned X due to the proliferation of false information and illegal content. Even Musk accidentally forwarded two fake accounts.

Partly because Musk, who doesn’t care about money, uses money to motivate people to participate and re-choose the mainstream voice of X.

Judging from the incentive mechanism of So in theory, these accounts can make money through content that is difficult to distinguish between true and false, but that people prefer to watch.

X is a digital town square for all users, but some users stand taller than others.

When Musk was recently a guest on the podcast "The Joe Rogan Experience", he was asked how much X is worth now. Instead of talking about the market value of X, he took a detour and just said it was priceless (Everything).

Walter Isaacson's "Musk Biography" mentioned that Musk's idea of ​​a universal application has been brewing for a long time, starting with X.com and PayPal, hoping that they can handle all personal financial transactions and social relationships.

Similar to killing "Little Blue Bird" and "Twitter" now, he was not satisfied with "PayPal" at the time, thinking it was a better name for niche players, but if you want to be accepted by the world, then X is the best s Choice.

It is not that Musk has not heard various criticisms from the outside world, but as his famous saying "I would rather be optimistic and wrong than pessimistic and right", Musk has never been a technological pessimist, and even boldly envisioned Total X One day it was valued at over $250 billion.

This article reviewing the first anniversary of X may be most appropriate to end with Musk’s own words:

The time we need to worry is not when the media reports that a company is on the verge of collapse, but when they are too lazy to write those reports.

It is as sharp as autumn frost, and can ward off evil disasters. Work email: [email protected]

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