I like reading stuff on twitter.com because a lot of interesting people write things there which they don’t write anywhere else.
But Twitter is designed to be addictive, and a key mechanism they use is the “infinite scroll” design. Infinite scroll has been called the Web’s slot machine because of the way it exploits our minds to make us keep reading. It’s an unethical design.
In an essay entitled “If the internet is addictive, why don’t we regulate it?”, the writer Michael Schulson says:
… infinite scroll has no clear benefit for users. It exists almost entirely to circumvent self-control.
Hopefully Twitter will one day consider the ethics of their design. Until then, I made a Firefox extension to remove the infinite scroll feature and replace it with a ‘Load older tweets’ link at the bottom of the page, like this:
Quoting Michael Shulson’s article again:
Giving users a chance to pause and make a choice at the end of each discrete page or session tips the balance of power back in the individual’s direction.
So, if you are a Twitter user, enjoy your new-found power!