After Elon Musk recently took over as the head of Twitter Customer Service, there’s no shortage of requests for new features coming his way. It seems Musk is keen to progress features beyond the blue tick dramas.
Today, Musk confirmed they’re bringing back end-to-end encryption on direct messages, not unlike competing social messaging service Signal.
It’s no secret that Elon owns one of the cherished single-character domain names, x.com and is likely to put it to good use as he develops Twitter as a platform. Musk has suggested that Twitter should be more like the Chinese social app ‘WeChat’ which offers users not just messages, but video calling, payment services and much more.
Julius Singhania asked Elon on Twitter if there is a plan to merge Twitter with telecommunications, one app to replace the functions we get from multiple apps, to which Elon replied ‘X will be the everything app’.
It’s unclear if Elon would ever rename Twitter as a company and service to X, but the idea of having a 1 stop shop is completely the opposite approach to others like Meta who offer an app per service including Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp.
A single app is much more simple for users, but the work to cram in loads of functionality into a simply-to-use, elegant user experience isn’t something easily accomplished.
With a background at Paypal, an interest in crypto and experience in digital storefronts at Tesla, the financial implementation seems an easy one for Musk to get into. The real unlock for the revenue would be to allow brands to sell products and services through the platform and charge a modest fee on the money flowing through the platform.
The concept of a single app to rule them all is great, however, the functionality is only part of the equation. These social apps rely heavily on the network of friends, family and colleagues, also known as the network effect. If I am to replace something like Facebook, I have some high demands before I can do so.
Firstly, most of the people on the planet have Facebook accounts, which means contacting them is easy, many of which I don’t have an email or phone number for, so searching, and discoverability is key.
Secondly, I can upload photo galleries without file size limits and get value from the ‘memories’ feature that reminds you of experiences gone by.
Thirdly it’s video calls through Messenger, great for family events like birthdays or Christmas when you can’t all be together.
Fourth, there are birthdays and events, when I want to attend a local event, I’ll check on Facebook first and being able to see which of my friends are also attending does impact whether I end up going or not.
Fifth, there’s gotta be some kind of camera/video component that responds to the juggernaut that is TikTok and it’s addictiveness. Whatever you think about TikTok, the engagement is amazing and if X had an element of that, it’d certainly be a drawcard, just don’t do a clone, it needs to be an original innovation that drives the platform forward, like buying Animoto and enabling professional-looking AI-generated videos that animate images and video to a soundtrack in seconds.
Then of course there are ads aka paid content. Musk has explained this about Twitter as well, that good advertisement can be educational and actually add to the experience, feeling more like the content you want to see than annoying irrelevant ads pushed to millions. This requires personalisation and that comes from providing the platform with some data about yourself.
There’s a lot that could be done to create a system that works like Tesla’s FSD development cycle, known as the Data Engine. Take the right inputs (user feedback, suggestions, surveys etc), process them, rank them in priority and assign development teams to deliver the functionality to the X app. Over the months and years ahead, there is a chance the app could become one of the most useful on your phone, even if it’s not replacing everything.
I think it would be hard to ignore the temptation to offer functions to control your Tesla from inside the app. With components in their environment like HomeLink to open your garage door, it’s possible there’s also IoT and home automation on the cards here as well with the X app.
What do you think? What should be included in Elon’s mobile app X that does everything ?