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Before today, I knew: the reason Twitter was originally limited to 140 characters was so it could be transmitted over SMS (which was limited to 1120 bits, or 160 7-bit characters).

TIL: the reason SMS is limited to 160 7-bit characters is because Friedhelm Hillebrand, who was the chairman of the non-voice services committee within the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), found that a) the average sentence was <160 characters, and b) that matched the average postcard.

@noelle So texting is literally only good for a single sentence by design.

🤷 Great.

@catgirl @noelle Twitter isn't even good enough for an average-articulated sentence

@noelle hah, I thought they just used the free space in the unused signalling paths when no telephony data was being sent, and therefor had only 160 7-bit chars to work with.

@polychrome @noelle Perhaps that happened first and then later when or if the method/situation changed they didn't change it because of the first reason?

@noelle I remember when you could get and send Twitter updates via SMS like you could subscribe to a Twitter user's feed and get each update as a text.

@chikadee And when you could send a DM just by starting your tweet with "d <username>"? Ah, the joys of getting old. ;)

@noelle I was an early adopter to tumblr but didn't get it so I forgot I had set it up to just link my Twitter account and post those so when I went back to tumblr and wanted to use that old account I had like 3k posts to delete and I can't believe I did all of that by hand. Although to be fair tumblr's code wasn't a massive mess.

@FakeRobotGamer @noelle yeah I started using it in 2008 after I turned 18 and moved mostly to interact with my favorite Podcaster at the time.

@noelle After each of these, you need to be like "Thank you for coming to my TEDtalk, feel free to check out my Patreon"

Because this shit is goooold

.@noelle now I kinda want to see the Average Postcard, in its own little domed plinth next to the Kilogram.

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