Teaching An Old Dog New Tweets

Someone came up to me the other day and asked me if I thought I should write another book in my life, which reminded me of how Paul Bass, former chairman of Dallas-based Southwestern Medical Foundation, used to introduce me at functions.

Paul, who passed in 2010, used to begin his remarks by saying, “Someone once asked me if I had read Boone’s last book. To which I answered, ‘I hope so.”’

Well, old friend, I am still writing the book of my life. It just takes a different form today.

People often ask me why, as I’m nearing 90, I am so active on social media. I have always believed that it’s important to show a new look periodically. Predictability can lead to failure.

Not too long ago, I asked my executive vice president of communication, Jay Rosser, if he had any problems getting my op-eds placed in The Wall Street Journal today. During the height of the corporate takeover battles of the 1980s, that was a critical tool in getting out our message.

We discussed just how the world and communication models have changed. The days of an opinion piece, waiting a week or more to hear back, and then going forward with its writing, editing, and publication, are not gone but certainly not as vital in getting an important message out.

As little as two years ago, I couldn’t have told you what a podcast was, but I pride myself that at my age I can understand the power of social media — the reach of LinkedIn columns, tweets, podcasts, my Pickens Plan website. I use each platform to share viewpoints, have public discussions with big thinkers and policy influencers, and learn new things in the process.

It is no revelation that social media is an immensely powerful tool.  Efficiency suggests that the time and effort to move the discussion on an issue today trends that way — competing with the other things to read in global circulation of 1.4 million in The Wall Street Journal versus a focused tweet, influencer piece, or podcast to my almost 3.5 million email and social media followers.

The ultimate proof is in the 2016 election pudding. Donald Trump used social media to become President of the United States.

Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of old school left in me. I don’t take much stock in emails, I prefer to communicate in person or via a phone call. But the least we can all do is to use this new communication model to try to impart the wisdom gleaned from our careers.

The feedback I get from such efforts indicates that I am reaching a big audience through the various social media platforms. You can teach an old dog new tweets.