This is an interesting read from the LA Times that sheds some light on why SMS or text messaging has a 160 character limit. Here’s a quick excerpt:
For one, they found that postcards often contained fewer than 150 characters.
Second, they analyzed a set of messages sent through Telex, a then-prevalent telegraphy network for business professionals. Despite not having a technical limitation, Hillebrand said, Telex transmissions were usually about the same length as postcards.
Just look at your average e-mail today, he noted. Many can be summed up in the subject line, and the rest often contains just a line or two of text asking for a favor or updating about a particular project.
Read the entire article here.