History behind 140-Characters
Twitter’s initial 140-character limit was established during the early days of Twitter. Back then tweets were sent primarily via SMS text messaging, which had a 160-character limit. Since then, the character limit is what has defined the social network from the others. Users felt like the limit forced them to be better writers and more creative.
Reason for 280-Characters
During the testing of the 280-character limit the company found that users with the higher limit got more followers, more engagement, and spent more time on Twitter. Twitter thinks that this is a serious improvement to the service. They also found that “only 5% of Tweets sent were longer than 140 characters, and only 2% were over 190 characters.” These findings would suggest that people want more room to tweet but not that much more.
“We saw when people needed to use more than 140 characters, they Tweeted more easily and more often. But importantly, people Tweeted below 140 most of the time and the brevity of Twitter remained,” the company wrote in a blog post on Tuesday afternoon.