There was a recent post over at ReadWriteWeb about how content is becoming a commodity. I don’t believe many people would argue with this. While at first this wasn’t something I viewed in a positive light the more I think over it the more I see some value in it. As content does become more and more of a commodity the value in who is publishing or producing that content goes up. Five years ago if someone would have talked about some trade-secret they learned about from Google many people would have perked up and listened. Today however rumors spread faster than ever and before you know it google calendars now predicts when your appointments are, puts them in your calendar, and sends you text messages with directions 30 minutes before each meeting. While this may very well happen some day, I’m pretty sure they won’t be rolling it out next week.
Now with so much content being produced and spread all over the place there is still some value in the quality of content (which there always has been). However, now there is much heavier focus on the source it came from. This comes to the principle of branding, and not necessarily like a wal-mart or coke brand, but a personal branding. My guess is that in the future, and by future I mean sooner than later (likely 2-3 years), personal brands as a whole will carry more weight than the companies they work for.
Take for example Digg, when Digg makes some announcement or stance a few people listen and it does get noticed. But this is only when the content or opinion falls within the Digg world. Meanwhile when Kevin Rose makes an announcement many more people than just in the realm of Digg notice. He’s a prime example of someone that has built a personal brand, he’s name carries weight, and more so than just that of Digg, Pownce, or Revision3 (even though they are nearly one in the same).
Some might view content becoming a commodity as a bit of a blow. I believe we will see more individuals emerge with an understanding of personal branding in part to help us sort through the content, but also to provide quality content in repeatable manners.