It was recently revealed that LittleMonsters.com, a brand new social networking site created by Lady Gaga and her team, is in private beta testing, and would you look at us, we got our hot little hands on an invite to the site. Being the curious and inquisitive kind, we thought it best that we take a look around this new website, and see what all the fuss is about. Paws up!
So, here’s what we know. Little Monsters was created by Backplane, a Palo Alto, California-based development company co-owned by Lady Gaga’s manager Troy Carter. Partially funded by Lady Gaga herself, Backplane hopes to leverage Gaga’s massive social media following (25 million Twitter followers, and 50 million facebook fans) and spin LittleMonsters.com off into greater success for the tech startup.
After responding to the invite, we were soon met with another email inviting us to take the tour, with some cautionary “commandments,” which we would later find out are known as “The Monster Code”:
Be brave, be kind, be tolerant, be original, and be safe? Well, LittleMonsters.com is no Fight Club — that’s apparent already.
After logging in, Little Monsters looks something like a hybrid of Pinterest and Facebook. The “Feed” is comprised of user-generated posts, containing images, videos, and links. There’s one side bar for notifications and messages, and there’s another for chatting. While everything is being launched under the context of this being a Gaga fan site, it seems like Backplane could easily transition the site to being more broad and general in terms of membership and content. But before we get too carried away with speculation, let’s build our profile.
On your profile, you can add an avatar, a short bio with your location and profession baked in, and you can add your interests, musical taste, skills, and your website links if you so desire.
As always, there’s a side bar where you can access notifications (which will appear if someone has followed you or liked your posts), sent and received messages, and there’s even a section for events. Right now, this section just contains significant events created by Lady Gaga, but I imagine the idea is to eventually allow members to create their own events, and mark themselves as attending the same way the Facebook events section operates.
When creating content, you have the option to post images, videos, links, and there’s even the option to open up an MS-Paint style window and post a doodle.
There are several ways to sort your news feed on Little Monsters. You can browse posts that are popular and have received many likes (“Hot”), you can view only posts created by people you have chosen to follow (“Following”), or you can view the newest posts that have been created on the site (“New”).
You can also sort by post type, and narrow your search by selecting All, Photos, Videos, Discussions (text posts), and News (posts with links).
Users are also able to up or down vote posts, the same way Reddit works. Posts with a higher overall number make it to the popular (“Hot”) page.
One of the most interesting features of Little Monsters is the ability to create and join public chat rooms on a static side-bar. If you’re old as hell like us, it will definitely bring you back to the days of Yahoo Chat or IRC. With rooms called “Opps I’m Naked :D,” it will also probably make you feel like a huge pervert. Proceed with caution, fellow old people.
Possibly the most disconcerting thing about Little Monsters is the complete absence of any kind of privacy settings. Right now, your profile information your chats, and your posts will be accessible to any member of the site, assuming this doesn’t change when Little Monsters goes public.
It’s hard to say whether or not Little Monsters will catch on. It’s a bit clunky right now, but it’s already a lot more straightforward and usable than Google+, naturally.
Don’t expect it to replace Facebook, but with the power of Gaga’s rabid fanbase, Little Monsters might just stand a fighting chance. We said it was nothing like Fight Club, but maybe David Fincher will make a movie about it some day. Maybe.