Skip to main content
Interactive Text MessagingMobile TechnologiesTwo Way Text Messaging Software

160 Characters: You can fit a lot of info in a text message.

We get asked by customers all the time just how much information can be shared via text message. Not surprisingly, many don’t think it is much, even when you consider that people manage to get a lot communicated with their friends, family and co-workers using text messaging. 

Back in 1984 when SMS was invented, Friedhelm Hillebrand decided on 160 characters because it was the average amount of characters that fit on a typical postcard. The above postcard (written by Rush drummer Neil Peart in 1984) has 254 characters including his sign off and name, but if you’ve never seen one of Neil Peart’s drum solos, trust me when I say that they are incredible, but also a little longer than your average rock drum solo.

98.15 Characters (61.4%)

That is the average number of characters in an outbound response from our clients to their customers, members, students and employees. The important thing to remember is that ultimately, users understand the medium they’re using. Text messaging is conversational and short, but plenty of information can be shared in a single text message.

So what does 160 characters look like?

Here’s my personal favorite quote (it’s from Charles Kingsley), I try to live by it every day. 159 characters including the quotation marks:
“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”

For those Mosio customers who are less like Charles Kingsley and more like Neil Peart in their responses, our system enables you to send longer responses, breaking it up over several text messages when needed.