Voting is not something that only happens every four years. You cast a vote every time you choose one product over another. You cast a vote when you decide to hire this service rather than that one. And whenever you do things like share to Facebook, you cast a vote on the kind of online media you want to see. So really, you vote dozens, maybe even hundreds of times, every day.
For example, if you bookmark this page, you cast a vote. You are saying, “This is content I like, and I want to be able to access it again to tell others.” Any video or blog or comment or photo you share to Facebook in order to share with your friends is your way of saying to the creator of the content, “Please make more things like this.”
Bookmarking is such a powerful vote, in fact, that entire systems have been developed around this very simple concept. Every browser contains a bookmark page. And online bookmark managers such as Delicious bookmarks exist solely to provide users with the means to vote on web content they like.
So who tallies these votes? SEO professionals know that search engines like Google take these votes very seriously, using them as one of the criteria for ranking search results. Anyone who sells any kind of product or service takes these votes seriously, as a kind of living feedback on their effectiveness and presence in the online marketplace. But even more common, the people who see these votes are your friends and your family, your circle of contacts, literally anyone who can see what you share to Facebook, link to on your blog, or even just mention in a comment.
Your vote has power. What you share to Facebook can influence anyone who sees it. What you share to Facebook can start trends and spark debate. What you share to Facebook can change minds and broaden horizons, can inspire ideas and shape the marketplace. Never forget that your vote, like the proverbial pen, is mightier than any sword.