A Journalist’s Guide forLittleMonsters.comJOMC 491 Final PresentationDustin McManus
What Is ‘Little Monsters’? A social networking site created by Lady Gaga specifically catering to her fan base aka “Little Monsters.” Launched July 10, 2012, the site is a polished amalgam of the most visible and pervasive social media platforms of today, borrowing aesthetics and features from Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and discussion forums normally found on fan sites. Developed by Backplane, a private tech company led by Lady Gaga, her manager Troy Carter and CEO Matt Michelsen with an initial $1 million investment. Backplane works to establish new social media communities by emphasizing conversation and sharing, looking for designers, developers and technologists for its team. Lady Gaga is one of social media’s most influential personalities, holding the title of most followed person on Twitter with more than 31 million followers.
Quick StatsThere are at least 1,200,000 users on LittleMonsters based on Lady Gaga’sfollowers on the site. Below are some available statistics:
Features Encourages fan participation through submissions of art, pictures, GIFs, sound clips and video. Fans create personal profiles to connect with other fans and spark discussion in group chat tool. Aggregates all news regarding Lady Gaga, mimicking The Huffington Post model of news consolidation. Primary focus is on the creation of content by the fans themselves and being an entity that can accommodate and promote sharing of said content.
Group ChatPotential Uses for Journalists:I. Establish group chats to connect and network with other journalists with similar beats who might come to such a site for reporting purposes.II. Engage with and interview fans as sources of information or personality elements for stories regarding Lady Gaga.III. Use chat feature to set up live feeds of events Lady Gaga is a part of (tour stop, launch party, television specials/performances, etc).IV. Get access to information from fans across the world with multilingual chat system, and use them as eyewitnesses for reporting on events such as concerts I. Having a crude form of a field reporter functioning as a “sights and sounds” source.
FeedPotential Uses for Journalists:I. Could be used as informational element for journalists to retrieve and use images, model stories off of fan creations and identify what this sort of niche audience is currently talking about.II. Journalists could attach stories regarding Lady Gaga with images and publish them to the feed page to engage an audience with heavy interest in subject matter, leading to readership and cross-promotion.III. Discuss feature on feed allows users to submit questions for other users to answer: perfect for journalists fact checking or searching for sources.
ExploreOffers tutorial for new users, an advanced search bar function andbreakdowns of the various hot topics and different features of the site.
Creating the Conversation There is no other site out there like LittleMonsters. Lady Gaga is trailblazing her own social media agenda through her celebrity status. Lady Gaga is leading this community conversation in ways that encourage more active participation and discussion than other social media sites. Builds a conversation around specific interests and topics. Journalists should dissect and understand this conversation, the way it’s conducted and then contribute to it. Mandates a dialogue and conversation about content produced = a goal journalists should strive to achieve with their stories. Captures a zeitgeist increasingly obsessed with celebrity and pop culture. Provides journalists with cultural context for their news stories.
How Journalists Should ApproachLittleMonsters Approach as a cultural conversation governed by Lady Gaga and her fans. Approach as a distribution tool for content; utilize SEO because posts show up in browser searches. Approach as a community where you can gain valuable sources, network and conduct discussion. Approach as a reporting tool for the topics Lady Gaga and her fans precipitate on the site. Approach as a site where the professional and recreational merge for an immersive and resourceful social experience.
Do’s1. Get on LittleMonsters and other similar sites if they serve up the content and audience directly related to your beat. Play with the tutorial to familiarize yourself with the site.2. Be forthcoming about yourself as a journalist.3. Follow the influential and top users on the site.4. Network with these people and other journalists on the site for collaborative purposes, as well as a means of establishing trustworthy sources.5. Use the explore section to find the most interesting and unique postings and users which could lead to ripe story ideas and potential sources/interview subjects, as well as current hot topics.6. Create group chats among other journalists to establish a fringe community within the site and join other chats for audience reaction, potential sources of information and promoting your brand.7. Utilize your profile as an extension of your brand as a journalist – think of it as a Twitter page specifically tuned into your beat and a vested audience. Showcase your voice and personality!8. Posts comments, stories and questions in the “Feed” section to promote your work, attract interested audiences and further your reporting.9. Work to get stories published in the “News” feed section of the site.10. Use the discussion section to ask questions and seek out sources = reporting tool.11. When posting in other social media, use effective hashtags and tailor postings to site’s SEO and search features to ensure presence of your material when members use the search function.12. Remain a competent, accurate and unbiased journalist while abiding by “The Monster Code” to uphold both professionalism and favorability on the site.
Don’ts1. Don’t troll the site as a creepy investigative journalist trying to remain undercover.2. Don’t simply post links to stories – be more interactive and visual with posts.3. Don’t utilize profile as a personal forum or stray from the overall discussion of the focal point of the site. Don‘t cross the line into overly professional or overly recreational.4. Don’t take every user’s word – work to find reputable sources. Don’t just talk to one or two people.5. Don’t assume everything posted/said is factual – a site designed around and for fans could lead to a lot of rumors and misinformation.6. Don’t neglect your profile and make it dry or unappealing.7. Don’t be overbearing with other users when investigating and reporting – remember this is a site for entertainment and discussion purposes.8. Don’t solely publish and self-promote.9. Don’t operate as a lone wolf – this site is built and operates as a community.10. Don’t forget to encourage engagement with your posts to boost your stats and influence.11. Don’t be pressured into losing your objectivity as a reliable and accurate journalist.