A bunch of Twitter logos, a cursor, and the number 140.

The 140-character spike

A disproportionate number of my tweets are exactly 140 characters. I don’t know whether that means I’m really good at Twitter or really bad. Sometimes it’s the result of a too-long idea being meticulously edited down to size; sometimes it’s purely chance. Either way, I find 140-character tweets oddly satisfying — and based on a large dataset of tweets, it looks like I’m not the only one.

The dataset paints a fascinating picture of the distribution of tweet lengths. Extremely short tweets are understandably very rare, but it doesn’t take long for the distribution to reach its first mode at 35 characters. The curve gradually and smoothly trails off to a local minimum around 116 characters, before positively spiking after 135. The average length is a bit more than 68 characters and the median a bit lower at 62.