The Astrology of Social Media
This was originally a short article written for and published in the online members’ magazine for the Astrological Association of Great Britain in December 2016, but here I have included the full article with all the background.
History of Social Media
Like it or not social media is not only here to stay and, today, it’s where a nearly 2 billion people get their information. Unfortunately it is also the source of considerable misinformation that can have drastic consequences, as we have seen in the last few years and this year in particular.
The advent of social media was 1997 with the first ever social network service called MacroView and later became known as SixDegrees.com, named for the concept that all living things and everything else in the world are six or fewer steps away from each other so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps. It was based in New York. SixDegrees.com allowed users to list friends, family and acquaintances on the site, and then these people were invited to join the site. They could then post messages and use the bulletin board to post to the first three degree connections in their group. The service had a drawback though, people who confirmed a relationship with an existing user but did not go on to register with the site, continued to receive occasional email updates and solicitations. The company was sold in 1999 for $125 million but then folded in 2001.
The same year AOL Instant Messenger was released but a recent article in “The New Yorker” says that this chat service with close down in December 2017.
While there have been several short lived messaging services launched since 1997 few have survived the test of time, with the exception of Yahoo and MSN, which launched their first messaging services in 1999; LinkedIn, the business-
Also in 2004 we saw the launch of Flickr, the image and video hosting website, now owned by Yahoo who bought it in 2005. This was followed in 2005 by a similar type of service provided by YouTube, which was acquired by Google for $1.65 billion in 2006. 2005 was also the year in which Facebook launched its photos feature with no restrictions on storage but at the time there was no facility by which you could tag friends. In the same year Twitter, one of the most popular social networking sites worldwide, was launched.
There have been and are many other social media networks but here I have mentioned the most popular ones. As you can see they are launched, have new features added and then sold on, often more than once and the advent of Smart phones has added new ones such as Snapchat.
What I want to focus on here though is the two very popular social media sites Facebook and Twitter, launched in 2006, and look at the differences in the astrology of the two.
The Astrology of Facebook and Twitter
Although there are no times are available for the launching of the two most popular social media sites, Facebook and Twitter, the launch charts are interesting, especially in light of the fact that they both have their headquarters in California, the home of the Gold Rush and the centre for the 1950s beat poets and the hippie counterculture that peaked with the 1967 “Summer of Love”; a city that sits on one of the most strongest fault lines on the planet.
Facebook was publicly launched on the 4th February 2004 and was membership was initially limited to Harvard students but it soon expanded to include other higher education centres in the Boston area. It became a public social media platform two years later, a meteoric rise in anyone’s book and as of June 2017 it has 2 billion users but the use of social networking sites and mobile apps have, including China, Iran and North Korea.
Twitter was launched 21st March 2006 and it took off despite the fact that the interactive “Tweets” being limited to just 140 characters. However, you don’t have to be a registered user to read the Tweets, whereas with Facebook you have to be registered and a “friend” of the person who published the “post”.
Here are the charts for the public launching of these two social media sites; they are set to noon because there is no record of the time at which they were launched. As that is case the Ascendant and the Houses it produces cannot be used in the interpretation.
However, both Facebook and Twitter have Uranus in Pisces and Neptune in Aquarius, i.e. in mutual reception, by virtue of the modern view that Neptune rules Pisces and Uranus rules Aquarius. Pisces as we know is the twelfth sign and is related to public institutions and covert societies in mundane astrology, it is also about the emotions and the subconscious natally and Aquarius as the 11th sign is about associations and community groups, hopes carried to foreign shores and Aquarius is the sign of the inclusive, universal and idealistic. Uranus is linked to all revolutions and innovations in society and Neptune is associated with imagery that is shown through mass media such as films, photographs, etc. Then there is Pluto , the planet of the underworld, the digging up of all that we would like to keep hidden, in Sagittarius, the sign of foreign shores, the grass is greener over there, the broader vision, enthusiasm, adventurous as well as recklessness and tactlessness. And could that Pluto in Sagittarius be a forewarning of cyber bullying?
It is, nevertheless, clear that with the placings of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto that social media was going to have a dramatic effect on society.
There are some striking differences between the two charts though when you look at the outer planets. The Facebook chart shows a trine (120°) between Uranus and Saturn in Cancer that isn’t present in the Twitter chart. With Saturn being the planet of constraint, boundaries and social acceptable norms in the sign of self-
The Twitter Saturn is in Leo the “roaring lion” and there is a conjunction between Mercury and Uranus (they are just 2° apart), the two octaves of communication, showing that it would indeed be Twitter that became the most popular site for saying what we think in short bytes, and Uranus is square (90°) the Moon , emotion, reaction, responses, etc., for most of the launch day and to Mars all that day, energy, aggression, hastiness, lacking forethought, etc., showing clearly that this site was to reflect those energies. Jupiter is retrograde in Scorpio echoing some of those Pluto themes and square Neptune, which, to me at least, says that what appears on Twitter may not be the whole truth at all! It certainly signifies that for tweets to be used as a powerful way to confront things but at the same time fudging and misrepresenting information in a way that can be destructive, vengeful and overly dramatic.
In the Facebook chart there is some tension between the Moon and Uranus but its more along the lines of just a niggling irritation, the quincunx , but Mars is in a positive relationship with Uranus being sextile indicating that users can take their own actions to deal with what they see if they wish to; such as hiding or dismissing posts, and un-
In both chart Mercury is a morning star, leading the Sun into the sky and this shows that communication comes takes precedence over the heart. As far as the Twitter chart goes because, the Sun is in fiery Aries, a happy guest, but square Pluto, and Mercury is in Pisces and adrift in a sea of woes with the added emotionality and reactivity of being square the Moon in reckless Sagittarius, all adding fuel to short sharp bursts of unrefined, instantaneous, sometimes self-
For Facebook it is evening star Venus that is in Pisces, where she is the welcomed guest, making positive aspects to the Moon in Cancer, where it is at home, and to Mercury in Capricorn the sign of a slower approach to things, discipline, responsibility and the conscientious, practical approach adding to the supportive friendship (Venus in Pisces) and homeliness (Moon in Cancer) of most Facebook users, even though it does tend to be a dumping ground for our emotional lives sometimes. However, there is materialism here as well (Capricorn) and so it’s no surprise that Facebook users are bombarded with adverts that cover everything we ever expressed any interest in buying to all those things that we don’t need (Mercury in Capricorn square Mars in Taurus, Mars sextile Uranus) and everything we have in our homes (Mars square Moon).
Now if we turn our attention to the last couple of years and look at what the planets Jupiter to Pluto have been doing in relation to these charts we see some startlingly recognisable attitudes and events concerning Facebook and especially Twitter.
Sagittarius has characteristics that deal with ideology, philosophy and cultural identity. When this sign is transited issues of nationalism and patriotism are emphasised. People’s beliefs become spotlighted, be it from a religious, intellectual or cultural perspective and often social change takes place by an altering of people’s world view. Currently we have Saturn travelling through Sagittarius adding weight to this on an international scale and it is something that no one has been able to ignore thanks to Jupiter’s journey through Libra, Libra may be seen as the peacemaker, the diplomat but it is an the argumentative sign and often said to be a fence sitter, perhaps, this is why nothing has been done to protect people when they use these social media sites. Opposite Jupiter we have Uranus in Aries, the planet of the world-
On the 10th October 2017 Jupiter entered Scorpio and so will be returning to its original position in the Twitter chart in January and September 2018, when it is quite possible that Twitter will be looking for a new way forward, however, this could also indicate litigation, so we will have to wait and see whether the way forward is an improved service or the end of Twitter. In December 2017 Saturn moves into its own sign Capricorn and for Facebook this could mean that throughout 2018 it will be forced to face up to its responsibilities regarding protecting its users from people who abuse this form of social media, whether it does tighten up its security or rebels against further controls will very much depend on whose running the show, but it has faced up to its responsibilities before so we can hope it will again.
I shall watch what happens and may write on this subject again.