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Will horoscope apps de-throne Instagram?

Images via Co-Star
Words by Olivia Hart

Look to the stars for the answer.

It’s no surprise people like to hear nice and encouraging things about themselves. 

This is typically the vague formula of a horoscope: the moon is in retrograde so you’re going to be the best version of yourself this week; it’s Pisces season so the creative juices are flowing and you should paint that masterpiece; it’s a waning moon so all Capricorns are the coolest people on the planet right now. 

Moving slowly into the mainstream, astrology is transcending millennial fad and becoming required reading. Checking your horoscope in the morning is almost as common as checking the weather or news. 

Yes, I could get through my day without knowing my horoscope, but I’d rather not. And it turns out a lot of other people agree.

Astrology apps like Co-Star and The Pattern – which blew up in 2018 and featured in both news articles and celebrity tweets – make astrology more accessible. While horoscopes were previously too generalised and buried deep within the pages of newspapers or magazines, apps streamline the experience. 

Social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter have also been flooded by astrology accounts with large followings of their own.

Astro Nancy Drew and Astro Poets on twitter turn our flaws into memes, all the while capturing feelings we can’t often articulate. Astrology author Chani Nicholas has amassed a huge Instagram following and just released her first book You Were Born For This, which turns birth charts into a toolkit for life.

The Cut has Madame Clairvoyant, Man Repeller has themed monthly horoscopes, Vice has its own certified astrologer, and even the New York Times writes the occasional piece on the subject

While astrology was around long before the words social and media even fit together, there’s no denying these apps, publications and online personalities have brought the practice to the forefront of our collective consciousness.

Which is why I would like to propose a powerful hypothesis.

Each time a new top-tier app has launched – Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and Myspace (remember myspace?) – it has either dethroned what was popular before it or absorbed the other app and all its best features. 

When Instagram took on all of Snapchat’s unique features – filters and stories, notably – it almost brought about the end of Snapchat entirely. Facebook also stood on shaky ground, with many of its users flocking to IG for community and communication. 

So what if, through the divine forces of the universe, an app was developed that gave you the snappy one liners of Twitter, the memes and video diaries of Instagram, the newsy content of Facebook, and the encouraging advice of Co-star or The Pattern?

Would this not signal the end of all other apps?

So far astrology apps don’t do much beyond delivering your horoscope. You can add friends and get a glimpse of their charts, but there’s no larger community connection just yet. But it has so much untapped potential.  

People will go see a stranger who knows nothing about them because they may or may not have a “third eye” and gladly accept a tarot reading. Now, consider an algorithmically-generated app that knows everything about you because your data has consistently been sold to the highest bidder. Which one is more likely to get it right? Personally, I’d bet my money on the app.  

Whether you care about the accuracy of these predictions or you’re just in it for some fun encouragement, astrology apps could be the wholesome and introspective alternative to Instagram’s repetitive, validation-fuelled content cycle. Astrology is all about self-exploration; understanding ourselves and striving for improvement. We can collect photos on Instagram, but we can collect personal goals and daily advice from astrology. 

Imagine going on dates already knowing your compatibility rating, or linking up astrology profiles with your partner so you can gauge their potential mood before they even get home. And if you get your heart broken and need to leave town ASAP, you can consult an astrocartographer on the best city to go based on your chart. All on one app. 

Considering how far astrology has embedded itself into the mainstream over the last few years, I predict it’s only a matter of time before it takes over the virtual world completely. And what better way to do so than with my hypothetical app?

So, developers, HMU.

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