At last count, Lady Gaga has nearly 37.8 million Twitter followers and 51 million Facebook likes, a massive tribe of “little monsters.” But there are different levels of fan — the casual fan that will quickly zip by a Gaga tweet or post on Facebook, and the rapid fan who knows every move that Lady G is making on social media every minute of every day.
So when she wanted to create a social network for her fans, she turned to her manager Troy Carter, who went ahead and, with help from Silicon Valley friend Joe Lonsdale and Google Ventures, launched Backplane. The social media platform is home to Gaga’s site LittleMonsters.com.
According to Carter, the key, even when you have the tremendous following that Lady Gaga has, is speaking directly to the biggest fans. And controlling the technology that’s used to reach these fans, something you can’t do when you’re at the whim of the folks at Facebook, for instance.
“Our bet is on the future of micronetworks,” Carter told Financial Times in an interview with the paper during FT Innovate. (Carter is also the founder, chairman, and CEO of Atom Factory.) “Fifty-one million likes doesn’t mean we’re going to sell 51m albums or concert tickets.”
At a time when the black community and beyond struggles to create opportunity for African Americans in technology, Carter is a huge success story. In addition to discussing the Backplane connection to Lady Gaga, this story in the Financial Times talks about Carter’s upbringing in Philadelphia, raised by a single mom in a tough neighborhood. Total aside, he got his start with DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.
For more about his career and Backplane (which Carter says is “already informing commercial decisions”), read on here.