Artist Interviews & Music · Musings

Explaining the Obsession: The Little Monster Effect

Most of you probably know this by now, but in case you didn’t: I *love* Lady Gaga. I hate to use to the word obsessed, because while I could probably tell you where she is, what she’s wearing, and who she’s with right now, I would like to think of my love for her as an extreme amount of admiration. I love dramatics, I love theatrics, I love art and I love a spectacle, which are just a few things that encompass Mother Monster. I guess I should start from the beginning, when I saw this performance below, and myself and the rest of the pop music industry was changed forever. Sure, I had heard “Just Dance” and “Poker Face” and loved them both, but this performance was something else.

This performance is everything, literally everything: live (and insanely good) vocals, fantastic choreography, intricate costuming, beautiful set, piano playing and commentary on media/pop culture. This is with out a doubt one of her best performances and set the course for a new era of pop music. I had to know about this eccentric yet extremely talented performer. I guess you could say that’s where it all started for myself and many other fans, or Little Monsters. Gaga is a performer that is extremely rare to find these days. First of all, girl can sing. The world is finally realizing this after her recent Oscar performance that she’s the real deal.

With the incredible past few weeks Gaga’s been having, it seems like everyone is back on the monster bandwagon. But there is a special group of us whose love for Mother Monster will endure forever (sorry not sorry I’m being dramatic).

In today’s world of music, there’s a term that we all are familiar with: fandom. Fandoms are simply not just fans of artists, but rather, they emulate every aspect of an artist and promote them through social media. It’s not just your normal “I love Justin Bieber” tweet; people create entire accounts that are dedicated to their favorite star.

Justin Bieber has “Beliebers,” One Direction has “Directioners,” and Demi Lovato has her “Lovatics.” Perhaps the most well known and infamous fandom of them all is Lady Gaga’s very own “Little Monsters.” I am a self-proclaimed Little Monster, and I follow many Twitter accounts that are also apart of the LM fandom. Little Monsters communicate together primarily through social media, and have created a community together.

Lady Gaga has one of the most followed accounts on Twitter, with over 50 million followers, and growing every day. She has a following of over 67 million likes on Facebook, and nearly 6 million followers on Instagram. Lady Gaga has even launched her own social media platform, affectionately named after her fans, called LittleMonsters.com. According to TechCrunch.com, Little Monsters has accumulated over 1 million registered users, and over 2.3 million unique monthly visitors. With such a huge following, it is easy to see that Little Monsters are prominent on social media.

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So how did Lady Gaga become such a huge social media powerhouse? It’s not just her fame and popularity that’s helped her amass millions upon millions of followers, but rather the way she interacts with her fans. I recently came across a quote from Ted Rubin which says, “Social is not the same as digital. What is important in social is to be social.” That is exactly what Lady Gaga achieves with social media.

Gaga takes the time on Twitter to hold Q&A sessions with her fans, and answers comments thoughtfully and honestly. On LittleMonsters.com, fans are encouraged to express themselves by posting their art, music and other creations. Often times, Gaga will leave positive comments, and praise them for their contributions. This Google Chrome commercial shows perfectly the power that Lady Gaga and her Little Monsters have on social media.

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My laptop cover I made myself

So, can we expect more musicians to take a note from Lady Gaga and create their own fan sites that cater to their fandoms? The answer is yes. The company that launched Little Monsters, Backplane, has started to branch out to create sites for other bands, one being Guns N Roses. With the success Backplane is seeing with other artists and social media accounts, it is safe to say we can expect to see more of these platforms being created.

The always ground-breaking and innovative Gaga was able to create an entire online community dedicated to her fans, which other artists have now modeled their social media after. Here are my top Little Monster fandom accounts:

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4 thoughts on “Explaining the Obsession: The Little Monster Effect

  1. Hi Camille! I love this post. I really like your take on social media and celebrities. In past decades, before social media or even the Internet was around, people expressed their love for a celebrity in absolute different ways. I wonder what certain celebrities fandoms would have been if social media had been around during the time in which they were initially famous– Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, etc. I like how a celebrity creates a personal brand that people follow. Thank you for sharing, especially because you are a Little Monster yourself!
    -Rebecca

  2. Fandoms. Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em, right?! As an avid member of both the Directioners and the Lovatics fandom (I’m half kidding), I strongly agree with everything you said. Fandoms have such a strong pull for celebrities, and the easiest way for them to connect with their fans is through social media. To be completely honest, I think fandoms are the best thing to ever happen to some celebrities. Some owe most of their success to their constant followers!

    Side note: From experience, I have found that fandoms like to convene on Tumblr the most!

    This was a great blog post, Camille!

  3. Thanks for the incredible insight into fandoms and social media — you really demonstrated the power of social media.

    I like that quote from Ted Rubin: “What is important in social is to be social.” Even though it’s right in the name, you see so many people (including celebrities) not using social media to actually be social, which I think it a mistake. It not only allows you to connect with current fans, but it’s great for expanding your fan base by getting people to share and rave about your music to their own friends and followers.

    Also, I have to second what Sam said in her comment — fandoms really thrive on Tumblr; it’s sometimes crazy to see how quickly and passionately people take to Tumblr so they can sound off on something that happened in their fandom.

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