140 Means 140

This heading might confuse you for a while, but the person who keeps tweeting knows about this 140 tragedy. Yes, This is regarding twitter character limit issue. Twitter is one among many online social networking service where people tweet their thoughts about anything which can be seen by the world instantly. Twitter was created 10 years ago on 2010 and as of March 2016, Twitter has more than 310 million monthly active users. This shows its popularity among online users.

Out of all the advantages, Twitter had one major drawback of setting character limit to 140. This made users to rethink while tweeting larger posts. They had to remove unnecessary words or abbreviate words like “to” to 2 using numbers or upload the screenshots of their thought. This is what Twitter’s CEO and founder Jack Dorsey had to say about this 140 characters constraint in Los Angeles Times in 2009: “But SMS allowed this other constraint, where most basic phones are limited to 160 characters before they split the messages. So in order to minimise the hassle and thinking around receiving a message, we wanted to make sure that we were not splitting any messages. So we took 20 characters for the user name, and left 140 for the content. That’s where it all came from.”

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At the time of creation, Twitter imposed the same constraint on direct messages as well. But,the cap on direct messages was removed last year, allowing users to send messages up to 10,000 characters in private between themselves. This year, Twitter rolled out a major change on character limit of their tweets. This change was first announced in May and it already implemented few of the changes such as including attachments like GIFs, pictures,videos,quoted tweets and polls will no longer be counted towards the character restriction. Twitter also said the usernames would not count anymore allowing more space for the users to write. This helps to have a long public conversation with no abbreviations. Below image from Twitter Developer documentation shows the tweet structure in detail.


By simplifying tweets and direct messages, it encourages new users to use this platform and also helps in retaining old tweeters.


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