Lady Gaga is now officially the mother of all Little Monsters, launching her social network, LittleMonsters.com this summer, as her fame catapults to 25 million followers on Twitter — the first user to hit that milestone.
"#25milliontweetymonsters wow! I'm officially feeling like the luckiest girl in the world today. Last sold out show in Singapore in 2 hrs!" she tweeted right before the show was cancelled and she delivered a "Special Message for Indonesian Little Monsters" on YouTube.
The special greeting that all Little Monsters, as Gaga calls her fans, are waiting for is coming soon, when her social network swings open its doors and gets out of private beta.
The social media maven boasts some 330,000 followers on Google+, 50 million plus Facebook fans and more than one billion views on YouTube – and now those fans that aren't part of the beta test are all ready to sign up for the Pinterest/Tumblr-like LittleMonsters.com social network powered by Backplane.
Still invite-only platform in beta with fewer than 100,000 users before it goes live this summer, sneak peeks at the site's design show a highly visual interface that's similar to Pinterest, with a collage of tiled photos that when scrolled over, link to each Little Monster’s user profile.
Troy Carter’s vision, as articulated in Wired UK, is an online community that handles record sales, concert tickets sales, social interaction, charitable activism, excusive content, and whatever fuels the pay-to-play passion which keeps fans (the most "die-hard of the die-hards") coming back and buying.
Each profile page, in addition to the ability to post and share images, includes a Calendar, Monsters (other members in their network), Messages, Events, What's Hot and New on the site plus Gaga News, other exclusive content, and a link to the Monster Code (of behavior). Members can "like" someone else's post, share it on other social networks, comment and help each other's content go viral across the network.
As the possessor of a highly visual brand (look at the Tumblr for Gaga's creative director, Nicola Formichetti) the site marries community and the current mania for visual scrapbooking, and gives her army of fans an outlet for their creativity and fan-created art — a big part of the Lady Gaga credo.
The Little Monsters network is Backplane’s first product to market, the company co-founded by Gaga’s manager, Troy Carter, and staffed by former Facebook and Google employees. “The goal of Little Monsters and Backplane is to unite people around affinities, interests and movements,” commented Matt Michelsen, co-founder and CEO.
Backplane uses browser extension Cortex, which allows information to be shared across social networks, and a Little Monsters mobile app is in the works. Chat rooms have a built-in translator for multilingual monster mash-ups. And yes, a mobile app is in development.
But the secret sauce of Little Monsters, beyond design and UI and navigation, is how it's aggregating a global network of digital identities, platforms and passions into one community, united by their passion for Brand Gaga — it's as much about them and inspiring and connecting with each other, so not a platform for idolatry. Backplane may well iterate the celebrity marketing business two steps forward. As it says on the Backplane blog, “LittleMonsters connected to each other and not just her.”
Naturally, it will also appeal to advertisers, and the community will be monetized.
Matthew Michelsen, CEO and founder of Backplane, said of the advertising potential, "When we look at traditional forms of advertising, we like to actually look at influencers, so if I have Lady Gaga advertising something or endorsing something, it doesn't carry the same weight, especially with the Little Monsters, as if we actually have our 20 top influencers carrying that message. So we are actually trying to reverse this trend. We want to be what's next in advertising."
Backplane backers include Google Ventures, Founders Fund, Menlo Ventures and TomorrowVentures and pop megastar Lady Gaga is poised to take her personal brand to the next level. As the Boston Herald notes, "The provocative and eccentric pop icon with her 50 million Facebook fans and 25 million Twitter followers, is the ultimate mediator and moderator for a generation that has never known a Web-free world."
After all, they were all born this way — digital natives to the core.