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George Takei talks human rights, social media, William Shatner, Fred Phelps and more

George Takei may be forever known as Mr. Sulu from Star Trek, but these days he is the overlord of an Internet following of more than 6 million Facebook and Twitter fans who revel in his impish humor. With a staff of interns helping, Takei passes along everything from hilarious cat memes to grammar lessons, Star Trek references, brain teasers and everyday wisdom with a heavy dose of social justice thrown in.

"It's the funny that keeps people coming back," he said of his adventures in social media in a recent phone interview. "I, too, am astounded by the rapidity of growth and size of the growth (of his Internet profile). On Facebook I have more than 6.3 million friends; isn't that amazing?"

Takei will be in Tampa on Tuesday to give the keynote speech for the National Tutoring Association, talking about "the most egregious violation of our Constitution" when as a 5-year-old, he and his family were faced by soldiers carrying bayonets who ordered them out of their home and into a camp for Japanese Americans during World War II.

The conference is from noon to 3 p.m.Tuesday at Grand Hyatt Resort, Tampa. Tickets are $145 per person and include the luncheon, keynote address and post-speech meet and greet. Tickets will not be available at the door. Click here for details.

For more of Sharon Kennedy Wynne's interview with George Takei, including his thoughts on Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps and his former Star Trek costar William Shatner, click here.