August 15, 2019

Astrology memes and algorithms

Astrology memes and algorithms

This review originally appeared in the August 15, 2019 issue of The Content Technologist with the email subject line "A Season for Being Extra" and a review of interactive video software VidGrid.

Do you know what season it is? It’s not summer. MN State Fair isn’t for another week. A hint: it’s a season that invokes excesses of vanity, an abundance of confidence, and more than a little bit of drama. Turns out:

Bow Down It's Leo Season

No joke: astrology memes are the greatest digital communication advancement since lolcat. Ask anyone with an Instagram account and minimal level of curiosity about personality types/astrology; they have likely spent the past two years learning the trademark characteristics of every sign in the zodiac.

All you have to do is search #astrologymemes and within three months tops, you’ll gain fluency in the nuances of each of the twelve sun signs, along with moon and rising signs, etc. You’ll know yourself better and get to the bottom of an astrological algorithm that’s been producing results for centuries. (I’d go on record that an astrologist is as accurate at predicting content success than a data-armed programmatic media specialist.) Astrology memes are wildly popular — I’m shocked more content-driven brands aren’t jumping on the bandwagon.

"What if we are a simulation and our birthcharts are the coding for our characters"

Memes, astrology or otherwise, are a new vernacular. I’ve heard complaints from professional editors and content perfectionists (all Virgos, probably) that they smell something rotten at the new Instagram aesthetic and the more recent proliferation of memes. Instagram photos no longer look like magazine shoots. They often look like screenshots and hasty jokes and vulnerable people in the process of change and well… what the internet was meant to look like, in my opinion. Astrology memes are a truly networked dialect; they simultaneously teach you about the subject of the meme (zodiac traits) and about how memes themselves work.

The beauty of Instagram is in its variety: the hella rad digital art piece next to the outfit photo next to the travel dreamscape next to the meme. As a kid, when reading lifestyle magazines, I always skipped right to the astrology columns and the Why Me. I guess I still do.

A chart ranks astrology signs with "center of attention" on the x axis and "enjoyment" on the Y.
Astrology apps support their content with original memes. @sanctuarywrld makes my favorites.

Digital media have permanently changed how we communicate. Much of the digital communication landscape is scary. But astrology memes are pure joy. And they’re making some enterprising stargazers money, but mostly… astrology is probably as lucrative as it has ever been.

So what’s your version of an astrology meme? There are Enneagram memes too, if that’s your flavor of personality classification. I’m truly shocked that DiSC or StrengthsFinder or the color one or some other highly sharable and trademarkable personality test on the market hasn’t bandwagoned here too.

The future of content | Instagram | how algorithms work | social listening

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