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. No doomscrolling. No toxic content. No disinformation. This new service would have the power nay, the responsibility to liberate us all from the guilt of Being Online.
Imagine how this service might look like. Imagine that it might 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 exists already, and that it was launched in 2015 alongside a great Nintendo Wii U game?
Every version of Nintendos ink-em-up shooter Splatoon includes a bare-bones posting capability that allows users to create a monochrome landscape (or portrait, in Splatoon 3) and have it appear over the user's avatar, billboards, and walls.
I consider myself a professional social media executive who has run many different social media departments in the past and even went semi-viral for a tweet about Amelia Bedelia. I believe Nintendo has accidentally created the finest good social media service in existence. Here are a few reasons why.
There is no discourse
The reason why Twitter is often viewed as a psychoactive dopamine machine is because it is geared toward interaction. In other words, youll see the discourse on your feed as long as people are talking about it. It may feel good to beat somebodys ass in QRTs, but at the same time, doing that keeps the original bad post going on to create discourse about the discourse until the next Twitter main character appears. Or until you throw your phone into the sea.
Because there are no replies, Splatoon does not have this problem. You may interact with the Splatoon social media service in three ways:
- 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 start discourse, so there is no discourse.
You can only post once
One of the most striking aspects of the Splatoon social media service is that every user may only have one active post at a time. If you want to post again, you must delete your previous one. This has an interesting dual effect.
Splatoons' posting restriction encourages users to think about posting differently. Some times, this results in stunning, elaborate, high-effort splatposts (splatposts?) or fast-fire, zero-effort shitposts.
The one-post-per-user rule 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 appears to be where all of the best Tumblr shitposters landed: posts celebrating Sans Undertales' victory over Mob Psychos Reigen Arataka in the Tumblr Sexyman tournament; and hastily scribbled descriptions of how Splatoon 3 is the first Nintendo video game Queen Elizabeth II was never introduced to.
Splatoon 3 is a collection of openly queer games, and any offensive or bigoted content is almost immediately reported to Nintendo by the player community. This implies that, by necessity, the only people who use this platform are the people who are using it: they are also extremely skilled at posting.
@splatoon3 #Splatoon2 pic.twitter.com/WDC9NqKZ7d Thanks for letting me know!
There are no rewards
There is no way for people to track their Splatoon posting unless you look them up and send them a general friend request. Whats more, there is no visible indication of how many Fresh! reactions a given post received.
This might seem like a minor change, but it goes against every single other social media platform out there. Even BeReal, which is arguably the healthiest outside of Splatoon, shows reactions, which subconsciously drives users to chase those responses. At the end of the day, you are posting because you want to post. Youre screaming into the void as you are on any other platform. Except this time, you know you wont get a response.
Imagine if this was what we were gifted with whenever we saw the damn bird: a Posters paradise: no brands, no discourse, no replies, and no toxic content because there is no one to be toxic to just a mountain of sloppy posts you can edit at your own pace. A hyperrealistic image of the Mona Lisa with tentacles for hair is equally valid and appreciated.