US Candidates Hit Digg, Fail To “Get” The Social News Site

No Comment On Digg

Digg The Candidates is a new area on Digg that allows you to see what US presidential candidates are digging and doing on Digg. That’s right, you can check out what Barack Obama (with about 3,200 Digg friends) and Ron Paul (with about 6,000 friends) are up to. But is it really the candidates doing things or just their staffers trying to make them look hip? Looks like the latter. Below, a tour of the pretty disappointing performance of candidates hitting the Digg campaign trail.

Digg’s post about the new area makes it seem like the candidates themselves are on the scene:

We’ve reached out to the current presidential candidates to ask them to participate. Many of them will be Digging, commenting and even submitting content. If you don’t see your favorite candidate on the page, feel free to contact their campaign staff. The page will be updated as we receive news from the campaigns.

OK, let’s see what Obama’s up to on Digg. Looking at his profile, he seems to digg a lot of stuff about, um, Barack Obama:

Obama On Digg

Dude, if you want to be hip, try digging a few things about Apple, 24, Linux, and other popular Digg topics. Make it look real. Or at least present a view of a candidate that cares about a wide range of issues, rather than just yourself.

How about just looking at his submissions? Umm, umm:

Obama On Digg

Wow, not only interested in himself, Obama (who by the way, is my leading choice right now, so I find all this particularly disappointing) submits stuff about himself.

Now, if he were running, say, a blog about SEO, and submitted a lot of stuff about SEO (and, in particular, from his own site — which he does), lots of diggers would ordinarily start screaming spam in a kneejerk fashion. It presents a profile of someone not really part of the community but merely using the community.

Candidate Obama, consider reading the advice of top Digger Muhammad Saleem, that we published today: The Social Media Manual: Read Before You Play. Maybe you’ll seem more real for it. Oh, and consider commenting now and then. This looks bad:

Obama On Digg

How about Ron Paul, that top Republican candidate on Digg, according to his friend count. His profile is also pretty Ron Paul-centric in terms of activity:

Ron Paul On Digg

As for actual submits, he’s done all of one. And commenting? No comment:

Ron Paul On Digg

Curious, I skimmed the rest of the candidates quickly. Are there any that are more Digg-like, or actually somewhat part of the Digg community, rather than using it? Let’s look back at the Democrats first.

Mike Gravel’s been busy making friends, according to his profile:

Gravel On Digg

That’s a lot of work for a candidate – making me think instead it’s a staffer with busy fingers building a network.

Dennis Kuchinich has been busy with friends, too, as his profile shows:

Kucinich On Digg

John Edwards has the usual candidate-centric profile of digging stuff about himself, but at least he’s not trying to play the friend game:

Edwards On Digg

Joe Biden has the same sad message about not adding any friends in addition to a history of digging stuff about himself. Same story for Chris Dodd. Meanwhile, Bill Richardson does have some friends (30, when I looked), but he shows the now typical "digg stuff about yourself" profile.

C’mon Republicans, can you top the Dems for reality on Digg? At this point, it’s just easier just to group all those who have recently begun digging topics generally about themselves and have added no friends:

Mike Huckabee (profile), Fred Thompson (profile), Mitt Romney (profile), John McCain (profile), Tom Tancredo (profile)

Duncan Hunter has added some friends (33 when I looked), but shows the now typical digg yourself profile.

Alan Keyes stands out as someone with another staffer likely to be working the friends mechanism at Digg:

Keyes On Digg

He also stands out as the ONLY candidate to have actually commented on Digg. Twice:

Keyes On Digg

Kudos for commenting, but it’s not exactly great political debate — from Keyes, much less anyone.

Then there’s Guiliani. He tops both lists below for having dugg the most items and submitted the most items:

Giuliani On Digg

Yes, the items are pretty much all about himself, from what I can see.

How about some stats? (D) means Democrat and (R) means Republican in the tables below.

Most Diggs

  • Giuliani (R): 130
  • Paul (R): 71
  • Obama (D): 39
  • Hunter (R): 33
  • Kuchinich (D): 25
  • Richardson (D): 20
  • Gravel (D): 19
  • Thompson (R): 19
  • Keyes (R): 17
  • Romney (R): 15
  • Biden (D): 14
  • Huckabee (R): 13
  • McCain (R): 13
  • Trancredo (R): 13
  • Dodd (D): 11
  • Edwards (D): 11

Most Submits

  • Giuliani (R): 124
  • Obama (D): 36
  • Keyes (R): 12
  • Romney (R): 6
  • Thompson (R): 6
  • Richardson (D): 5
  • Edwards (D): 4
  • Biden (D): 3
  • McCain (R): 3
  • Gravel (D): 2
  • Hunter (R): 1
  • Paul (R): 1

Most Comments

  • Keyes (R): 2

Where’s Hillary Clinton? Writes Digg on the candidates page:

Looking for Senator Hillary Clinton or your favorite candidate? This page is a work in progress. There will be changes made as we receive updates from the candidates.

Frankly, rather than seeming lame for not being on Digg, Clinton actually comes across as the most honest for not having a shell profile designed to make her look all hip and diggy.

Overall, it will be interesting to see how things develop. I’m not naive enough to think the candidates will actually be acting on Digg as if they use it, but what’s out there so far still feels pretty disappointing. I’ve seen a few people comment that this is a further sign that the candidates "get it" – get social media, the web, Web 2.0 or whatever. For me, it doesn’t feel like they get anything at all. It also seems like there are far better ways for them to engage the Digg audience than this.

Looking for discussion? Check out what Diggers are saying about it on Digg itself here and some on Techmeme here.

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Search Engines: Digg | Social Media Marketing


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.

Comments are closed.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide