04 Apr What Do You Meme? Astrology in Social Media
It’s the oldest pickup line in the book: “What’s your sign?”
Some of us may roll our eyes when asked this question, while others might be ready to elaborate on our full birth chart. No matter what your answer may be, one thing remains clear: astrology is slowly yet surely taking the social media landscape by storm.
It started small: Refinery29 would post the signs as Starbucks drinks or types of pizza, in turn starting an engagement frenzy as viewers tagged their friends and shared which frappuccino flavor they were onto their own feeds.
Over time, these innocent engagement baits grew into the ultimate digital entity: meme accounts. Now, astrology fans can easily click onto an account to joke about mercury in retrograde and compare their sign’s traits to trending moments in pop culture. Astrologers and astrology meme accounts are now amassing hundreds of followers, with standouts like @NotAllGeminis joining the ranks of top influencers by collaborating with media outlets (such as Garage) and attending events to mass appeal (like SXSW).
While this may not be the first time astrology has become popular, this is certainly the first time it has reached so many people this quickly. The Atlantic believes that this rise in interest is a result of who else: millennials.
“Over the past two years, we’ve really seen a reframing of New Age practices, very much geared toward a millennial and young gen X quotient,” says Lucie Greene, worldwide director of J. Walter Thompson’s innovation group, which tracks and predicts cultural trends.
According to president and editor-in-chief of The Cut, a typical horoscope post on the site garnered 150% more traffic in 2017 compared to the year before. Psychologists attribute these massive increases to the fact that astrology provides explanations for an individual’s personality, identifying both their strengths and weaknesses while also providing possible solutions for overcoming those shortcomings.
These explanations in turn serve as a stress-reliever for millennials as they interact in social situations. Getting into a lot of arguments with your friends? No, there’s nothing wrong with you – you’re just a hot-headed Aries. Constantly feeling hurt by a coworker’s comments? That’s because you’re a sensitive Cancer.
The bottom line: It’s not you, it’s your sign. Meme accounts exploit this tagline to churn out relatable content onto their pages, igniting every fiery Aries and emotional Cancer alike to like, comment and share these posts onto their own pages. Whether it’s providing stress relief or simply a good laugh, this content is contagious and spreading fast through the social stratosphere.