2012 Twitter = 1912 Postcard

Everybody knows that twitter is limited to 140 characters. The character limit was determined by Friedhelm Hillebrand, father of modern text messaging, who came up with 160 as the ideal number needed to convey… something. When the deciding committee looked at postcards and found most of the messages were around 150 characters, the 160-character limit was born (twitter keeps the extra 20 characters for usernames).

I like to think of twitter as the 21st-century postcard, in that small packages of information are sent easily. Astonishingly, some people among us would be unaware of the conventions of postcards in current conventional use (outside of advertising) were it not for PostSecret, because their purpose has been trumped by texting, but texting has no remnant, nor any sense of presentation.

I don’t collect old postcards, but their appeal is enormous. If I acquire older postcards–used or unused–I use ’em. Even better: make your own.

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