Like me, you probably have a Facebook profile, and if you have enough friends on Facebook, you've probably seen a few posts by friends of yours who are in bands, or do fashion photography or, oh, I don't know, have their own webcomic or something silly like that.
Every now and then someone I've added on FB will update their status telling their friends to vote for them in a contest. Which in theory is fine. Making people aware that they can support you is perfectly kosher.
What I hate is when these people have you vote for their thing when they haven't publicized it yet, or worse, when it hasn't even been finished. At that point it's pretty clear that they aren't depending on talent or effort to help them win; they're just appealing to their sizable number of Facebook friends. In the worst cases, if you do a little poking around you can occasionally discover that the competition was being organized by one of their friends in the first place, and that just strikes me as unfair.
Why does any of this matter? Because often the competitions offer prizes, usually in the form of exposure, expensive equipment, creative opportunities, or all, (or a mix of) the above.
Again, if you yourself have participated in an online contest whose winner was decided by public vote, that's fine. If you shared the link with your friends, that's also fine. But please, for the sake of your own integrity, include a link to a sample of your work so that people who haven't seen/heard/whatever it, they can at least vote based on your artist merits, not based on the fact that they sometimes see you at that one nightclub they go to.
If you're not much of a digital person, at least leave a little bit of information about your style, influences, ect, and where one might take a look at your vote-worthy endeavors offline. You know what I'm saying?
I mean, you do want to be recognized for your talent, and not just because people know your face, right?