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> Gaga Pioneered Online Fandom Culture As We Know It~, brilliant article!
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WitchHaus
post Oct 1 2017, 09:02 PM
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QUOTE
Today we have Beliebers, Swifties and Directioners. But the Little Monsters were cultivated in a way we hadn't seen before.

Despite having hustled, stripped and set fire to hairspray cans with her tits out in bars across New York City for years, it wasn't until releasing her debut album in 2008 that Lady Gaga became a household name. Bewildered journalists couldn't make sense of her platinum hair bows, tiny leotards and that purple teacup she used to carry with her wherever she went. But she was an immediate hit among pop fans, who became enthralled by her inherently flamboyant sense of style, increasingly creative music videos and refreshing determination to push boundaries in a pop arena that was actually quite cool at the time, but not particularly weird.

Although Gaga herself was undeniably eccentric, her music particularly at the start of her career was broadly palatable. Despite her debut being marketed as a complex Warholian exploration of fame, the tracks were catchy, repetitive and synth-driven. That said, they were also f***ing massive. The pulsing synths and hypnotic chorus of "Just Dance" were the ideal accompaniment to WKD-fuelled teen house parties worldwide and the built-for-choreography beats of "Poker Face" had the ability to turn any dingy small town gay club into a euphoric, glittering stampede. Kids across the world ate up her addictive hits, avant-garde outfits and messages of acceptance, propelling her to the status of global icon in just a handful of months.

But it wasn't until the summer of 2009 that these aforementioned kids were given a name: "Little Monsters", which she began calling out to the crowd during her live shows. Giving a whole fandom a nickname of sorts was already commonplace in K-pop, but Gaga was the first to do it on such a grand scale in a western context using it to describe the way fans would writhe, scream and dance in the pits of her high-octane performances. Naming her fans did two things. First, it created an "us" and "them" narrative. You were either a true Gaga fan, or you weren't. And second, it grouped them all together in a way that made sense online. For a generation of kids who existed on the internet, being a Little Monster meant more than going to a few gigs. It meant having a support network of like-minded people from around the world that you could interact with, like an extended family. Finally, there was a name for all the people who spent their waking hours immersed in the online world of Lady Gaga; one that was getting bigger by the year.

Strangely, as Gaga's fan base multiplied, her personal relationship to them tightened. It was in mid-to-late 2009 just before the re-release of her debut album, The Fame Monster that she started using a "Monster Claw" hand symbol. It was a gesture as simple as curling her fingers and raising them in the air, but she did it so frequently online and on-stage that it swiftly caught on. Fans would put their "paws up" at concerts and she eventually got the claw tattooed on her back, which she shared on Instagram like a gift back to the fandom. She would talk about feeling like an outsider, sharing personal stories and preaching about tolerance and the importance of equality, consistently vocalising a system of beliefs that she stood for. And so, the Little Monsters had both a name, an ideology and a universal symbol to unite them. By outlining exactly what a Little Monster should be, and accelerating this sense of community among her fans, Gaga basically created a cult (but, y'know, a fun one rather than the kind that ends in something sinister like mass death). And all of this was able to snowball online.

This is precisely why Gaga's blueprint is genius. In weighing in with selfies, memes and the occasional heartfelt post at the same time as being the kind of global icon that can sell out arena tours in seconds, she has molded herself into the ultimate pop star paradox: she can release a self-aware comment on fame like "Paparazzi", yet you can also imagine getting shit-faced on whiskey with her and setting the world to rights on someone's sofa at 3AM. It takes more than a meat dress and a few hair bows to curate a fanbase as rabid yet unwaveringly loyal as Little Monsters. Many stars have tried, but without understanding the sense of extended identity that comes from these fan labels. Nobody does it like Gaga.


https://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/article/pakq5...little-monsters


Really fascinating article that sums up the build up of the fanbase. A brilliant read and nostalgic trip down memory lane!
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WitchHaus
post Oct 1 2017, 09:03 PM
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Henrietta R Hippo
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Reading this has filled me with so many memories. I was caught up with the entire fanbase building pre-BTW album release and it consumed my life, day in and day out on Twitter and forums following her every step. I am so proud to be part of the fanbase even though it's much more casual for me now.

#pawsup forever xoxo sob.gif heart.gif
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SKOB
post Oct 2 2017, 12:02 PM
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I love her now more than ever, but it's probably because I wasn't a fan until Paparazzi and THAT VMA performance which was a once in a lifetime experience

This post has been edited by SKOB: Oct 2 2017, 12:02 PM
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Poked Pumpkin🎃
post Oct 2 2017, 12:04 PM
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ABSOLUTELY!!

ALLL the other popstars copi3d with RIDICULOUS cheap copy names - The Navy?? Beehive??? DIRECTIONERS?? SWIFITIES??

They just copied Gaga
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WitchHaus
post Oct 2 2017, 03:52 PM
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Henrietta R Hippo
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She definitely made it a huge thing and paved the way for it to become popular. I know names for fanbases have existed before but this was a whole new level and lead to loads of other artists following suit. Doesn't even Jessie J have one now lmao :')

Whether it was a genuine love for her oddball fans and a means of uniting them all or a genius marketing strategy it worked and made thousands feel like they belonged.
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Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 20th October 2017 - 04:05 PM