Exploring Social Media: LeVar Burton Passionate About Social Media


I recently joined a social networking site called Twitter. The reason that I joined is simple. However the reason that I have stayed and made a conscious decision to become as Twitterer myself, is what has led me to this BLOG.

…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….

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…

For those seeking to understand the pull social media sites like has, the first blog post by LeVar Burton on his new blog summed it up.

LeVar Burton's new blog

One of the highlights of my WordCamp Las Vegas experience included meeting LeVar Burton, star of the world-changing television series Roots, Reading Rainbow, and Star Trek Next Generation fame, giving me a chance to say thank you for his efforts to break the rules and push the bar higher for the disabled and education. He continues with this life mission in the online world.

Like many celebrities, Burton admits he became involved with Twitter because someone was impersonating him. He found someone doing the same to other celebrity friends of his, a growing unfortunate trend on many social media sites. Instead of letting it turn into dirty business, he worked with Twitter to get his name back and took time to explore this new medium of expression, which led him to turn his site into a blog so he could stretch beyond the limits of 140 characters or less and concentrate on building a community online that crossed borders beyond geography.

During the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Burton met with many bloggers and social media experts. Twitter was an eye opener for him, and he eagerly introduced his friend and Star Trek co-star Brent Spiner to Twitter. His excitement was contagious as he announced on Twitter:

Had a long conversation with Brent Spiner today that began with “Tell me about Twitter.”

LeVar Burton gets Brent Spiner on Twitter

That conversation resulted in the following Twitter conversations:

LevarBurton: Let it be known @WilW [Wil Wheaton] said I’d never get @brentspiner on Twitter, and that if he DID join he wouldn’t tweet. LB FTW. (View Tweet)

LevarBurton: @BrentSpiner Feel the Love? Over 5K follows in less than 24 hours! I’m wondering if that isn’t some kinda record. Congrats & Welcome. (View Tweet)

A couple weeks later, @BrentSpiner had 14,917 followers, increasing daily.

Brent Spiner has since posted a couple hundred tweets, with most of the first batch similar to all newbies on Twitter with questions such as how does this work, what’s RT, showing not only his eagerness to embrace but desire to learn how all this works. Unfortunately, he quickly had hundreds of people responding with answers rather than just a few people, intimidating for even the most technologically advanced. Burton is a good guide, holding his hand through the process and dragging him back into it, exactly what everyone needs when they enter such a vibrant socially active and confusing world like Twitter.

LeVar Burton is very right about the power and attraction of social media. Twitter and other social media sites are contagious. They break down barriers allowing people to connect with others around the world of like-mind and passions. It’s a support network, too, in an interesting way.

February 2 was Brent Spiner’s birthday, so Burton greeted him with a birthday greeting Twitter-style:

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@brentspiner BEST birthday wishes Brent (looking for epic retweet here please).

LeVar Burton announces the birthday of Brent Spiner

What Twitter fan could resist such a retweet plea? Within a very short time, “Brent” was the top keyword on Twitter as measured by Twitscoop.

Brent is top keyword in Twitscoop in honor of Brent Spiner

He replied with:

Thanks for birthday greetings. Woke up this morning and saw my shadow. Three more months of twitter. (View Tweet)

I’m told I’m one of the top three retweeted people at this moment. Will the honors never cease? (View Tweet)

Ah, the magic of social media and community building.

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