What Does An “Everything Platform” Actually Mean? the Future of X
It’s been a strange year for X so far, with questionable decisions being made left, right and centre – not least the decision to rebrand overnight, costing them brand equity, trust and marketer confidence in one fowl swoop (and yes, that is a pun about the loss of the globally recognised blue bird – sorry!).
And even this week, a potential error in judgement has emerged with Elon Musk implying “a small monthly payment system” might come into play in order to combat bots. As with many of his recent announcements, the statement has received a frosty reception.
Onto the future of the platform though, and it’s an interesting one. Musk has been talking about the idea of an “everything app” for some time, but what does this actually mean?
The rebrand itself indicates a desire to shed the old image of Twitter and begin anew. Musk has explained his vision of the X logo, saying it’s designed “to embody the imperfections in us all that make us unique.” So far, so full of jargon…
X CEO Linda Yaccarino, however, has used terms like “global town square”, “global marketplace” and “the future state of unlimited interactivity” to describe the app’s direction. There’s plenty of uncertainty, but here’s what we know so far:
1. It Will Go Beyond Social
In practice, this means that any number of interactions could take place in one centralised app – be that paying for coffee, booking a table, ordering an Uber or getting a takeaway.
Everything we do that currently requires opening, interacting in and closing multiple apps could in theory be completed in one singular space. A user could keep tabs on their news and network via the social media side of X, and will be just a few taps away from transactions they might otherwise make on the likes of PayPal, OpenTable, Uber or Just Eat.
The beauty of the concept lies in the fact it can all be completed with minimal effort and input – which, as seen by the rise of ‘generation now’ (give it to us and give it to us quickly!), is a tempting proposition.
With websites and apps having to work harder, faster and better to keep pace with a demanding user base, it’s no surprise that Musk has identified a potentially lucrative gap in the marketplace.
2. It Will Mirror WeChat
You might think you’ve heard this all before – and you’d be right. WeChat, the social networking, comms and transactional site widely used in China, has one billion monthly active users and is cited as a blueprint for X’s vision.
And with good reason. Here is a direct quote from Musk, as told to podcast All-In: “We don’t have an app that is as good as WeChat in China. Like in China, you can live on WeChat; basically you do payments, you do everything. WeChat is kick-ass. We don’t have anything like WeChat outside of China. So, I was like, my idea was how about if we just copy WeChat?”
Musk’s ambitions aim to go beyond a single-country focus, however. Where WeChat owns the Chinese market, X is set to go global.
And this is not a bad plan. WeChat is largely viewed as a way to seamlessly manage daily life and is only set to grow its user base and active daily usage.
3. It Will Retain Its Focus On SOcial
You’d be forgiven for thinking this transformation means X is moving away from its roots as a social media site.
In fact, Musk has made it clear that the social side of the app won’t be left by the wayside, stating: “The sad truth is that there are no great ‘social networks’ right now. We may fail, as so many have predicted, but we will try to make there be at least one.”
While Musk doesn’t shy away from the fact X’s reputation is ropey at best, he’s confident that he can move the platform forward, saying: “The reality is, X is the only social network that is making strides in the right direction.”
Whether this will entail a move away from the current conversations-based model is yet to be seen, so we’ll watch how Musk plans to tackle this with anticipation, especially with Threads aiming to steal market share.
4. There Will Be A Heavy emphasis On Finance
Musk has made no secret of the fact that he’d like to integrate payment functionality into X, stating: “If done right, X could become half of the global financial system.”
Transaction and trust go hand-in-hand; so, if Musk does intend to build this into the app, efforts will need to be made to regain consumer confidence. And of course, such a move will see X go head-to-head with established brands such as PayPal, which will require significant clout.
Musk is reportedly looking into making business transactions possible on the platform too, so the world of commerce looks like it’ll form part of the overall plans, just as it is within WeChat.
WeChat Pay is widely used both personally and by businesses, and enables features including QR code payment and in-app payment. It supports 26 currencies and became the second-largest payment platform in China in 2022.
So, if Musk gets it right, there’s everything to play for.
5. It Will Be Fuelled By AI
Yaccarino has mentioned AI, but has been short on the details of what this will actually entail: “Powered by AI, X will connect us all in ways we’re just beginning to imagine.”
In a world where AI is gaining pace, it’ll be interesting to see how the X team plans to incorporate the concept into their plans. But for now, it’s a case of watch this space.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on the X accounts of both Musk and Yaccarino to learn more about this ambitious app and its place on the global stage. As we know more, we’ll be sure to keep you posted…
If you’d like to learn more about social media strategy, feel free to reach out to Alex Dixon, our senior social media strategy director.