Coming hot on the heels of the recently released social media popularity conquest that revealed Instagram now has more users and has already surpassed Twitter users. Twitter is reportedly working on revamping its platform by increasing the 140 character limit per tweet.
Instagram was launched in 2010 and later bought by Facebook in 2012. Currently, the photo sharing app has more than 400 million users worldwide, which is more that Twitter’s 316 million users. Stats show that users share an average of 80 million images per day.
If Twitter does indeed increase the character limits for tweets, it will have a fundamental effect on users’ experience on the social network. Re/Code authoritatively says that Twitters is working on rolling out a ‘new product’ that will enable users to write longer tweets. Judging by that statement, we may conclude that Twitter may not entirely abandon the 140 character-per-tweet platform. Instead, it is going to launch a new platform where users can tweet in more than 140 characters.
The Chronicles of Twitter’s 140 characters-per-tweet limit
You have probably asked yourself why Twitter restricts users to just 140 characters. Why the number 140 and not more or less?
Well, the answer to those questions lies back in history. It all began in 1985 when one German Friedhelm Hillebrand came up with a short text messaging services. Freidhelm’s invention allowed cell carriers to notify subscribers that they were running low on minutes or informing them their credit card did not clear. Friedhelm tested his idea on the old-fashioned typewriter and arbitrarily came to the conclusion that 160 characters were perfectly sufficient for sending out short text messages.
With time, Friedhelm invention allowing carriers to communicate with subscribers was extended to a subscriber-to-subscriber service; enabling people to send and receive SMS to each other. The social network Twitter came to be before the advent of modern smartphones and mobile apps. Twitter initially relied on SMS services for users to communicate with each other and thus conformed to the originally set-up 160 character limits.
However, the 20 characters are allotted to user’s unique handle (@innov8tivmag, @flexxmosh etc.). The other remaining 140 characters in now what users can be able to type in their messages and the commonly referred to as the 140 character-per-tweet limit on Twitter. Twitter is essentially an evolved SMS-based service that was scaled up by the advent of smartphones and mobile apps.
However, the 140 character limit has become a brand representing Twitter, and the act of users crafting their messages into 140 characters has been seen something like an art. So whether or not the upcoming Twitter’s new product will be something good or not remains to be seen.