My post about the use of Digg by Ron Paul activists attracted a strong response from Ron Paul supporters.  In comments on Digg and to my post, many folks acknowledged that they signed up for Digg specifically to submit and digg stories about Ron Paul. 

This was already pretty obvious.  If you click through on the profile of many users you'll see that all activity centers around Ron Paul.  Other users inject Paul-related content into unrelated discussion threads.  These folks are pretty clearly using Digg specifically to promote Ron Paul.

I don't think there is anything innately wrong with that.  But I don't think it is going to be effective in the long run and may in fact be counterproductive.

Users (like me) are already beginning to resent the efforts of Paul supporters to promote any and all Paul content. 

As patr84 said in the comments:

It’s a fact that there is a group of diggers who actively bury any Ron Paul story that is posted, for no reason except that it’s about the guy. I did some research into this a month ago, though things have probably changed since then:….._who_s_not

This makes sense.  The Digg community is pretty smart and when they see evidence of gaming they are pretty good about correcting the problem.  The Paul folks may succeed in getting a few stories to the homepage in the short term but at the long term cost of building resentment from other members of the Digg community.

I think we are going to see a lot more flare ups like this on Digg over the next two years. 

My advice to campaigns and activists would be to truly participate in these communities and don't just drop by when you are trying to artificially promote your material.  Don't be a bull in a china shop.

Jason Calacanis had a good line about this when writing about a similar problem with ThinkProgress a few months back:

Right now ThinkProgress looks like a spamming group because they are only involved in their own stories. That's like coming to dinner party and only talking about yourself–folks will hate you. Folks will not invite you back to the party. Folks will think you're small and selfish.

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.