What Is the Story Behind Twitter’s 140 Characters?

Twitter is the pulse of the planet. It allows people to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent messages in real time. American football, presidential elections and space launch are broadcasted on Twitter in real time. Just like any other company, Twitter has its own way to innovate. This week Jack Dorsey announced that Twitter will increase its character limit to 280:

In the light of Twitter’s recent decision to double its character limit to 280 for selected accounts, we went back in time to our conversation with Dick Costolo, former CEO of Twitter. Costolo visited Finland to give a keynote at Nordic Business Forum 2016.

During our conversation with Costolo, it was apparent that Twitter is moving in the direction of breaking traditional 140 characters. Where did the idea of 140 characters come from?

Costolo: “Back in the days, 140 characters was a limitation of SMS text messaging interoperability between carriers. 140 characters limitation on Twitter was initially based on 140 characters on SMS. The platform was architected to use 140 characters for the actual massage, 15 characters for the username and 5 characters for some freestyle. That turned out to be a fortuitously beautiful way to articulate thoughts in a concise manner so that people can consume lots of those thoughts in a short period of time.”

Photo credit: Nordic Business Forum