This Quality Journalist sure thinks so. He notes that popularity is 1) Gratifying, and 2) Thanks to the rise of link-sharing sites, really easy to measure. He's worried that once writers are allowed to know how popular they are, they'll write just to be popular.
Let's hope this trend doesn't spread to other industries: I'd cower in fear if I knew that restaurants only served food they thought people would like, or if programmers only wrote software their customers would use, or if artists only painted works that they thought people would like to look at. It's a null criticism: Social networking sites homogenize on a superficial level, but they also let users track the individual preferences of a select group of users -- if I find someone who I know is good at ferreting out interesting stories, I'd rather read their list of bookmarked sites than rely on the collective wisdom of any random collective. This isn't new, and it isn't a problem: Popular works have a certain minimum appeal, which usually constrains them from maximum appeal to a single group. This reduces risks and rewards (if I want to completely tune thought out on a long trip, I can grab pretty much any top-20 bestseller and expect to be entertained, but I'd hate to impose my individual literary taste on anyone, even though I prefer my favorites to King, Grisham, and Brown).
This story needs a coup de grâce, so here it is: I found this clever, articulate anti-Digg screed on Digg.