I just finished up a piece for Search Engine Guide entitled "What Would Social Media Be If We Didn't Talk To Each Other?" It has been brewing in my mind for about 2 weeks now, and although I wrote it for an entirely different audience than those who read Search Marketing Gurus, I think a lot of the sentiment still holds true for here.
We shouldn't be afraid to ask people to read our articles, or articles we find that are great and we submit to social networking site. Of course, you don't want to be annoying about it, all of us can smell a fake, or can sense when we're just being used for our "voting" power. However, that "power thing", it works both ways, we all have a choice. That choice is to say "hey, man this isn't cool that you just ask me to sphinn, fetch or digg all the damn time," if you feel you are being pinged for just casting a vote.
This is difficult for me to write, because no matter how I try to generalize it, its going to be taken personally by someone. Not all of us in the industry are power users on these social media sites. Unfortunately there are not enough hours in the day to devote to spending all day on social media sites digging, sphinning, stumbling, blogging and submitting ..... the client/employer work comes first, and as much as we would love it too, it doesn't involve being on the social sites we love during working hours. That also means that we just can't keep a consistent eye on the all of these sites for all that great new stuff just waiting to be discovered. That's why I don't mind and even appreciate it when people I know and respect send me their requests to sphinn or digg, because even with notification software I can't keep up.
I always read what I'm asked to vote on, and if it's good, I'll take the time to not only vote on it at the site I'm asked to vote on, but submit it elsewhere. If I don't agree, or I believe it's not worth the vote (like something that is just regurgitated from elsewhere), at least I've read it, and you've gotten my eyeballs to your page. I remember, I have the choice to not vote, but I'm thankful the person thought enough of my opinion to ask me to read the article first, in a sense if someone's asking you to read, usually they are giving you a compliment.
There's no doubt there are folks on all of our lists, that if they ask "hey you got the time to vote on this?", you won't head out right away to cast the vote. Be honest, they are the people you just intrinsically trust - and most likely they are the people that do not ask every time. But they are also the people you know without question, you are going to read the article sometime within the next 24 hours.
What it all boils down to, is just remembering that another person's time is just as valuable as yours is. So be mindful of that and don't ask for every article you submit to have the same eyeballs upon it (and that goes for all of your friends, not just the SEO ones). If you are always submitting your own stuff, people are less likely to vote and take you seriously, than if someone else thought it was really worthy. By giving someone else a shot at discovering it and submitting it, you will then not only have your network of friends to ask them to read, but the submitter's network, too.
Remember, social media is about being social and holding a conversation, a conversation requires at least two people. If your annoying and just ask for vote after vote, soon, that conversation will be with yourself, and then that's not a conversation anymore, is it?