In 4.5, we introduced a much richer microblogging feature that replaced the old status updates. With the new feature, we've added the ability to @mention people, places, and content, as well as attaching links and images to your updates. There are a few places you can create a new update
1.) New --> Update
2.) On your profile, Your Stuff --> Updates
3.) On your personalized homepage with the Community Activity widget.
We'd recommend that all users add the Community Activity widget to their homepage, it's part of the default view and will show your connections activity, your colleagues activity, and everyones activity as well as a filter to see just status udpates and posts that mention you (including content that links to you).
As you noted, we removed the charachter-counter from the status update input field. This was a deliberate design decision to not force users to be in the 140 character limit. We do have a limit (420 characters) and the counter will automatically appear as you get close to that limit. The limit is customizable via a jive property.
Hope that helps,
Awesome - makes a lot of sense. Thanks for your guidance.