Imagine, for a moment, that there would be a healthier alternative to Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and every other social media service you could ever imagine. There would be no doomscrolling, no toxic, no discourse. This new service would have the power nay, the responsibility to liberate us all from the burden of Being Online.
Imagine what this service might be like. Imagine that it might be able to alleviate the myriad of problems that are common to all social media platforms. Imagine that it might transform the social media experience from a glorified Skinner box into something fun.
What if I told you that this service already exists, and moreover, that it was released in 2015 alongside a smash hit game for Nintendo Wii U?
Every iteration of Nintendo's ink-em-up shooter Splatoon now includes a stripped-bones posting capability that allows users to create a monochrome landscape (or portrait, in Splatoon 3) and have it appear on billboards, posters, and walls.
I consider myself to be a solid authority on social media in the past, having also gone semi-viral for a tweet about Amelia Bedelia. Id like to believe that Nintendo has accidentally created the only good social media service in existence. Here are a few reasons why.
There is no discourse
The reason why Twitter often feels like a toxic dopamine machine is because the service is geared towards participation. In other words, youll see the discourse on your feed as long as people are talking about it. While it may feel great to beat someones ass in the QRTs, doing so still boosts the original bad post that continues to create discourse about the discourse until the next Twitter main character appears.
Because there are no replies, Splatoon does not have this problem. There are three methods to interact with the Splatoon social media service:
- Reacting Fresh! to posts you like
- Reporting harmful posts
There are no hot takes. There are no brand engagement-farming posts. There are no algorithmic rewards for engagement, and there are no ways to initiate discourse, therefore there is no discourse.
You can only post once
Every user may only have one active post at a time, which is one of the most interesting aspects of the Splatoon social media service. If you want to post again, you have to copy and past your previous post.
While platforms like Instagram and TikTok reward you for posting a couple times a day, Splatoons' posting restriction encourages users to think about posting differently. Some times, this results in incredible, elaborate, high-effort art that lasts for days; in other cases, it leads to rapid-fire, zero-effort shitposts (splatposts?).
One-post-per-user allows players to both value each post (because you only get one!) and treat them as disposable (because what if you think of something else to post?)
Its full of funny, cool people
After their great exodus, Splatoon 3, at least judging by post tone, appears to be the safe haven for all Tumblr shitposters. Youll also see mentions of how easily and moddable the Nintendo 3DS is; and hastily scribbled comments about how Splatoon 3 is the first Nintendo video game Queen Elizabeth II was never able to get ahold of.
Splatoon 3 contains a ton of openly queer content, and any offensive or bigoted content is almost immediately reported to Nintendo by the player community. This allows for a kind of user self-selection, where, by necessity, the only people who use it are the ones who are playing the game: JFRESH is probably the best-known example; they're also well-known for their well-known posters and stages:
Please come back i miss you#Splatoon3 #Splatoon2 pic.twitter.com/WDC9NqKZ7d
There are no rewards
Unless you look them up and send them a general friend request, you cannot follow posters you like on Splatoon, which means there is no way for people to track their Splatoon postings.
This might seem like a minor improvement, but it goes against every single other social media platform out there. Even BeReal, arguably the healthiest outside of Splatoon, shows responses, which subconsciously motivates users to pursue said responses. At the end of the day, youre screaming into the void as you are on any other platform. Only this time, you know you wont get a response. Its the weird and toxic dopamine cycles of either.
Imagine if this was what we were gifted with whenever we touched that damn bird: a Posters paradise. No brands, no discussions, no replies, and no toxicology because there is no one to be toxic toward just a mountain of useless posts you can sort through and add to at your own pace, with the Mona Lisa with its tentacles for hair. Both are equally valid and appreciated.