Star Trek:The Next Generation actors discover social media

I recently blogged that non-tech celebrities are increasingly active on Twitter. Subsequently, I got into a meaning-of-life kind of Twitter chat with LeVar Burton, only to find out at that moment that my house was on fire. (I'm not making either part of that up.) Actually, it turns out that three different Star Trek: The Next Generation actors are active online. Perhaps you might be interested in what they have to say.

Wil Wheaton ("Wesley Crusher") has had a huge online presence for years. A self-described geek who frequently plays online poker from his Linux box, he is funny and popular in the blogosphere and on Twitter (where he has >200,000 followers) alike. His Slashdot interview was an utter classic. Even if you're not and never have been a Star Trek fan, you should check Wheaton's online work out.

Wheaton has recently been joined online by LeVar Burton ("Geordi La Forge", not to mention Kunta Kinte on Roots). LeVar was pulled into social media somewhat to his own surprise -- impersonated on Twitter, he joined for real, and then decided to start a blog as well.

Although he's new to the game, and perhaps idealizing things, LeVar grasps the spirit and potential of social media as well as anyone I can think of:

After lurking for a while (not in a creepy context, simply observing) it occurred to me that I had encountered in Twitter a bona fide community of individuals bound together by common interests and occasionally, ideals. Which brings me finally, to my point. If we are to get through these trying times in which we live, and I definitely believe it our destiny to do so, it is important for us all to remember that none of us is in this alone. It makes sense to me that we are going to need each other to get through this! During a time such as this when monetary resources are scarce, the one commodity we have unlimited access to is the currency of our compassion. It is, I believe, incumbent upon each of us to be willing to extend ourselves to those around us, to support one another through these interesting times. It seems to me that our willingness to engage one another on that level is as good a way as any, to bring a blessing from a curse.

I feel like I have found part of my tribe in my online community, my Tweeple, so to speak. It is my intention, in the days and weeks to come, to lean on my online tribe for the kind of support, advice, and good humor that any man can expect from one’s community. I would like for this website to become, in the fullness of time, my home base. A place where I can connect and interact with those who feel connected to me. The point of view will be my own. I see this as my opportunity to speak what’s on my mind and in my heart.

LeVar has indeed engaged with the Twitter community in his brief time online, reaching out for SEO help, promoting his latest play, and getting involved in at least one short-but-real discussion, namely:

LB: Today's read-thru with the cast of THE CATERER went better than I expected. I can hardly believe how much I've missed acting...!

CAM: @levarburton How long since you've acted?

LB: @CurtMonash It's been about 20 years since the last time I was on stage.

CAM: @levarburton Ahh. You don't count movies/TV as acting? :)

LB: @CurtMonash For the past dozen or so years I've been behind the camera for the most part.

CAM: @levarburton Got it. We chose the professions we first chose for a reason. Going back to them is like returning home.

LB: Exactly!!! Well said.

(At 140 characters or less, even real discussions on Twitter can be a bit disjointed ...)

Finally, there's Brent Spiner ("Commander Data"). Spiner is a bit more old-school, with a fancy-schmancy website, no blog, and no link from said website to his new Twitter account. That said, since starting on Twitter in mid-January, Spiner has amassed >400 tweets -- many funny -- and >40,000 followers.

I'll close this post with a public-service announcement on behalf of a cool-seeming guy -- LeVar needs a bunch of incoming links, with LeVar Burton's name in the link text, to LeVar Burton's blog. (Then, if you like, tweet to him or post a comment to his blog, and tell him what you did.) As I write this, is about the fifth hit on Google for his name, and he'd like it to be #1. There are other simple SEO steps he could and should take. But the most important part of increasing LeVar Burton's personal site's search engine rankings is simply some link-love from his fans.


Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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