The Dawn of the Generalist

Is it me or are the lines blurring between Communication, Marketing, Learning and Knowledge Sharing? Usually, these are distinct functions with people who have years of experience and even advanced degrees in the relevant subject matter. Not anymore!

My own path has taken me from Communication (with a Master’s in Communication) to Learning to Knowledge Management to, now, some light Marketing. I pride myself on being a generalist because I feel these disciplines are very related as they all depend on content, messaging, organization and, yes, technology.

The audiences might be different; the objectives may vary but the skills sets needed are similar – listening, coordinating, compiling, distilling, writing, delivering, editing, managing people and projects – all necessary to achieve success in any of these areas.

I think the new bridge tying these areas together is social technology. The social sphere has a distinct and valuable purpose in all of these areas. The ability to connect, publish, engage and respond to people all have a significant role in communicating, marketing, learning and sharing.

Some are not comfortable with the fuzziness of the new frontier of communication generalism but I say embrace this era! Being flexible and having the ability to be plugged into any one of these situations has tremendous value especially in today’s cash-strapped environment.

I, for one, have been anxiously awaiting the time of the generalist. In the past, it has been difficult to articulate the value that someone can bring to the table if you can accomplish a lot of things in a variety of areas without a so-called specialty. Now is the time for generalists to shine!

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