George Takei: “Star Trek” to social media

Susan Altman, Staff Writer

While primarily known as Sulu in the groundbreaking science-fiction series “Star Trek,” actor George Takei has achieved quite a lot in his seventy-five years.  In addition to his acting roles, Takei has also served as an advocate for Japanese Americans and the LGBT community. One of his most recent achievements involves a website familiar to many on campus: Facebook.

Over the last few years, Takei has gained a massive following on the social media network, one that goes far beyond those who appreciated his career in the 1960s. In his new book, “Oh Myyy!: There Goes the Internet,” Takei addresses this recent internet fame, as well as various autobiographical tales.

The book is split up into twenty-one relatively short sections, with topic headings ranging from the ever-popular “Bacon” to “Spider-man, Spider-man, George Takei should be Spider-man.” Despite the silly names, Takei begins by analyzing just how quickly and superficially forms of communication have changed, from the once important handwritten letter to the incredibly quick status update.

He also compares the popularity of social networks to reality shows; but instead of being fascinated by strangers on the television screen, Facebook often allows users to gander at situations that are much closer to home. Ultimately, he thinks that social media has made all of its users function like reality stars, by allowing them the precise ability to publicly share whatever they choose.

He chose to make his internet presence rather private; instead of posting about his daily meals, for example, he decided to simply post entertaining material for his audience to enjoy, the same popular formula he follows today. But he also recognizes the positive aspects of such a global medium, beyond sharing photographs of adorable cats. Following the horrific tsunami in Japan, for instance, he promoted the movement to donate to the Red Cross, and also aided in many missing person searches.

However, the majority of the book does not deal with very in-depth and serious topics. Much of it deals with Takei’s personal online experiences. These range from the appreciation he holds for his long-term fans, the finding of the material he posts, and even the handling of fake George Takei accounts, as just a few cases.

While most of the book consists of Takei’s writings, it is supplemented with multiple examples of the sorts of humor he has located online, as well as images of his popular Facebook posts and Tweets and responses to them. These inclusions are definitely pleasant distractions, and most are not too current, so should hold up well over time.

Meanwhile, some aspects of the work are not quite as timeless. Takei discusses the current workings of Facebook’s EdgeRank and promoted post features, which determine how constantly material shows up on an individual’s newsfeed—a system that could change at any time. References to the “end of the world” in 2012 are present, and thus, already outdated.

Some of the material may be considered controversial, and the humor may not be to everyone’s liking. Overall, “Oh Myyy” is a worthy and quick read that shows the views of one of the more elderly prevalent users of social media. It is available as an e-book for Kindle, Nook and iBooks, and a print edition is said to be in the works.