Why is the allowable text message character count 480?
During periods of extreme usage, SchoolStatus may limit your outgoing character count to 480 characters in compliance with our Fair Access Policy. We do this to ensure all our users have the opportunity to send messages when they need to. We also do this to encourage brevity when communicating important information during a crisis.
A “text message” is actually considered an SMS (which stands for Short Message Service) in cell phone nerd parlance. SMS was invented in 1992 when that indestructible Nokia with 11 buttons was the only way to tap out a message. Hence, SHORT messages are only allowed to use 160 characters because of the way cell phone networks are engineered.
It’s also important to understand what happens when a message is over 160 characters in length. When messages are very long, they can be delivered out of order, causing confusion for the recipient. At this time, more than ever, we want to ensure your messages are as understandable as possible.
When I use an emoji, it takes up a lot of ‘extra’ characters. What’s up with that?
👍 We love an emoji like the next person. Emojis were invented long after text messaging was first released in 1992. When you use these characters, they take up more ‘space’ in transit and they count against your character count. We provide an up-to-date counter so you know exactly what you message count is going to be.
What if I need to send more information than 480 characters?
- Reconsider that need. Be brief. Revise your message under the 480 characters limit. Parents will thank you.
- Provide larger amounts of information on your school district website, and broadcast or send a text out with the summary and a link to your website
- Send an email to a course in SchoolStatus
More Detail For Those That Want to Know:
All telecommunication carriers limit text messaging to 160 characters. This has been the case since the technology was invented. Over the years, companies such as Apple have created services that look and perform like text messaging, but are actually their proprietary messaging service. That service also can allow for read receipts. Those services will fail over to text when the service is not available. Hence the green color vs the blue in iMessage for instance.
Because we deliver messages to many different carriers and to a large number of devices, it’s technically impossible to achieve that same experience. When a large text message is sent, the carriers control how the message is delivered. So it breaks the message into 160 character segments and delivers them in whatever order and time they handle those messages.
Whew. We hope you got that.