1. Chris Hardwick
Actor and comedian Chris Hardwick is known for his roles on ’90s MTV game show Singled Out and musical duo Hard ‘n Phirm.Hardwick used social media, blogging and podcast platforms to build what became Nerdist Industries, a multi-platform media company that receives 15 million collective monthly visitors.Nerdist was recently acquired by Legendary Entertainment. Hardwick remains Nerdist founder, as well as co-president of digital content for Legendary.
2. LeVar Burton
Depending on the decade, your memory of LeVar Burton involves either the Starfleet officer’s VISOR or, well, books. By using his personal Twitter account, Burton revived the Reading Rainbow series to snag the @ReadingRainbow account, which had been squatted by an inactive user. Today, the actor is very active on Twitter, and encourages more than 1 million followers to read. The Reading Rainbow brand has been digitized to meet the current needs of kids.
3. Alyssa Milano
Actress Alyssa Milano jumpstarted celeb life as a child, playing Samantha Micelli on Who’s the Boss and Phoebe during her eight-year stint on Charmed.Today, Twitter has turned Milano into a well-known social media mogul.Whether to advocate causes, flirt with the Old Spice guy or take over the NHL’s Twitter account, Milano is highly tapped into social media on several levels.
4. George Takei
After participating in three seasons and six films of Star Trek, George Takei’s identity became synonymous with his character, Hikaru Sulu.Takei created a Facebook page in 2011, which led to his social media stardom.The actor is now on nearly every platform, most recently Google+, where he expertly engages his millions of fans and followers
5. Roger Ebert
Film critic Roger Ebert has been dubbed “the most powerful pundit in America,” which social media helped prove after his battle with thyroid cancer left him voiceless.Despite losing the use of his vocal chords, Ebert turned to writing and social media to maintain his role as film critic.”My blog became my voice, my outlet, my ‘social media’ in a way I couldn’t have dreamed of,” Ebert writes in his memoir, Life Itself.
6. Fran Drescher
The Nanny’s Fran Drescher used to be known for her distinct laugh and Queens accent.Today, the actress uses Facebook and Twitter to advocate for her website Cancer Schmancer, which she launched after overcoming her own battle against uterine cancer.
7. Steve Martin
Standup comedian and actor Steve Martin has been in some of the most iconic comedy films to-date.After a few years off the big screen to focus on his music, Steve Martin eventually joined Twitter, where he was presently welcomed by millions of followers.Martin then turned his tweets into a book about what it means to be a celebrity: The Ten, Make That Nine, Habits of Very Organized People. Make That Ten.: The Tweets of Steve Martin.
8. Conan O’Brien
Social media helped Conan O’Brien make a comeback after falling out with NBC.Fans rallied for O’Brien on Twitter using the hashtag #TeamCoco — one went so far as to register the TeamCoCo.com domain to reserve for the digital team.O’Brien seized the opportunity and the site launched alongside a 30-city tour. The new TBS show was announced via Twitter and YouTube, and Team CoCo remains highly engaged with its loyal fans.
9. Wil Wheaton
Joining the rest of the Star Trek crew is Wil Wheaton, who played the role of Wesley Crusher.Today, Wheaton integrates his geek cred on the web. The actor’s popular blog has led to multiple books. He also has his own Fark topic page.Wheaton still shares plenty of Star Trek content with more than 2 million followers on Twitter.
10. Molly Ringwald
The Brat Pack princess Molly Ringwald was an ’80s icon, known for movies like The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles.Recently, Ringwald went from low profile to social butterfly. She joined Twitter and even participated in a Reddit AMA.
11. Louis C.K.
Louis C.K. may be one of the innovative comedians in the industry, but without social media, his controversial content distribution and ticketing methods would never have succeeded.C.K. jumped on to social media early in 2009, whereupon he used his massive following to turn his standup into a game-changing entrepreneurship.