Jul 10

VTGOVSM #2: Matt Dunne

Matt DunneMatt Dunne

(Update 7/4/2010 — added link to Vermont Future website)

Website: http://www.mattdunne.com/

Facebook | Twitter | Flickr | YouTube | Linked In

Other features: Google Calendar, Wikipedia,  CafePress and SWEET social media integration in website.

What’s missing: Blog, no confirmation email for sign up, quality check on Facebook Application. Supporter widgets. Overall lack of real engagement.


I have to admit that this particular analysis has been hanging on my head for the past week.  I should have posted it earlier, but to be honest, I was feeling a bit intimidated.  For heaven’s sake this is Matt Dunne.  GOOGLE GUY.  What could I possibly have to provide to this campaign that would offer any value whatsoever? Well, turns out, one can always add value. And my analysis of the Dunne campaign had some BIG surprises.  I should also come right out and say that my expectations of the Dunne campaign are the highest of all the campaigns (see my reference to “Google Guy” above).  So with that said, let’s get this analysis rolling!

Searching for “Matt Dunne” is actually quite fun.  The campaign is running Google Sponsored adds, so the ads come right up as does the main website.  What Ho!  There’s the Markowitz Campaign on the side! (they are pushing the adwords campaign for sure). We also quickly see that the Dunne Campaign has Wikipedia, Images, a Calendar sight and some good news coverage (check this MSNBC AP article out).  What you don’t find is Facebook or Twitter or even a Google profile.  At Bing we have similar results — but no ads.  Poor Bing, no one wants to pay you for advertising.  On a side note, plugging in a search for “Vermont Governor Race 2010” shows that the Dunne Campaign is working their SEM keywords — they are the only campaign to have a sponsored ad.

SEO Analysis: Matt’s easy to find on an ego search.  But I’m really surprised that Twitter and Facebook and YouTube are NOT showing up.  Neither is Flickr.  That’s a great deal of content and sites that should pull up fairly quickly which brings me to the elephant (sorry perhaps I should say donkey?) in the room.  I’ve searched.  I’ve looked.  I’ve clicked.  And I have found NO BLOG.  This is an interesting issue that has a big effect on SEO.  The website content is basic with news and social media feeds – – very pleasing to me as a human but without actual content depth and most importantly FRESH content (read here a blog) I wonder if the campaign is short changing themselves.  It could also be a time issue.  These social media sites just haven’t been around long enough to get indexed.  Whatever the reason, the campaign should look at how to increase the strength of their SEO so more of their content is found on quick searches — making it easier for constituents to connect.

The Website

Screen shot of Matt Dunne Website July 2010

The design of the website is the standard set by Obama back in 2008.  Expecting any innovation here would be expecting to much.  However what this campaign has done is fully integrated the social media they are using directly into the site.  Using Google search might not get you to the Twitter account, but coming to the campaign site you’ll find it right away. Up at the top are links to Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.  YouTube is incorporated directly into the “watch all videos” section and the campaign is not shy to ask you to fork over the cash with a nice easy to find blue contribute button in the upper right hand corner (notice the exclamation point, which I think is better than a question mark, eh?).  It’s easy to “Join Matt’s Team” with the email sign up (although when I did sign up I did not get any confirmation email — what is up with this?).  What is really nice is the many ways I can see information on this site.  On the home page there is a Twitter feed, a Facebook widget to show me all of the people I know who “like” Matt (a little social pressure), and the calendar so I know where he is at a given time.

Deeper in the site we’ve got fast facts about Matt and an additional contribute button in the glaring RED (People…please get with the color program.  Red on the web means the same thing as red in traffic. STOP.  It’s not patriotic.  I’m not gonna click.) Given Matt’s focus on “Citizen Politics” and “Service Politics” I’m surprised at the lack of information on the “Volunteer” page of the site.  Just a sign up.  *yawn* .  Finally, one snarky comment (and yes, this blog is not about the issues really it’s about the social media use, but I just can’t help myself on this one) — not sure but under issues for Vermont, and given this is Matt Dunne, I’m stunned that I don’t see anything about technology infrastructure. Um…what?  In Vermont Matt’s issues are:  Job Creation, Health Care Reform, Restore Trust in Government, Agriculture, Education, Environmental Protection, Energy, Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, 21st Century Transparency. Are these issues that are important to Vermont or the country as a whole? Not feeling the personalization to Vermont really. Very disappointed in lack of conversation about communication infrastructure. Update:  @mattdunnevt sent me a DM after I originally posted this and reminded me of the website he created prior to the campaign: Vermont’s Future which, although not linked to from his main campaign website is an important addition to the content question.  Too bad it doesn’t come up quickly in Google search and is not a link from the campaign website.

Website Recommendations

So what would I recommend for the Dunne Campaign for their website? Some personality. Yes all the social media is there and there are testimonials.  But what is really lacking is updated content that is from the candidate himself. I’ve heard Matt speak (he’s actually spoken in one of my classes) and he is dynamic and interesting.

Someone get a blog tab set up on that website STAT. Give Matt access to a nifty tool like Posterous and let him post real observations and points of view from the road via his email.  This will do several things:

  1. Get some interesting issues oriented content on this website.
  2. Help with SEO
  3. Add a real dash of personality to a very shallow site that pushes “the good news” but doesn’t give me a sense of the person behind it all.

Social Media Tools: Facebook, Twitter, Flicker, YouTube, LinkedIn

This campaign has all the tools: Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and Matt even has a LinkedIn (but that’s not showing much about the campaign — it’s all about his work at Google.) Here’s the trick though.  At the end of the day if information is being pushed out to followers, but that information doesn’t add value OR if the campaign is not engaging (communicating back and forth) then all the social media tools in the world aren’t going to make a big difference. My overall assessment here is that the campaign lacks personality and is not engaging with their social media tools.

Twitter: (354 Followers) Again, great that the Campaign has a Twitter account and it was neat to see that @mattdunnevt came to #btvsmd. But…it’s the tweets that count. And the recent tweets from this campaign are…well…meh.  Here’s a sample:

  1. Great response in #Bristol this morning! McKibben and Rep Sharpe endorsement already resonating. On to Brandon! #vt, #vtgov about 3 hours ago via web
  2. Fantastic support at the Brattleboro Gallery Walk. Thank you to all of the vols! #vt #vtgov about 17 hours ago via web
  3. Great scene at bellows falls farmer’s market. Maple ice latte perfect fuel to get us to brattleboro! #vt #vtgov about 22 hours ago via Twitter for Android
  4. After a moving tribute to Kevin, stopping for coffee in Bellows Falls and then off to Brattleboro for Gallery Walk! Perfect day. #VT about 23 hours ago via web
  5. Off to the memorial service of a great friend Kevin Forrest. Look forward to some wonderful reflections #vt 1:36 PM Jul 2nd via Twitter for Android
  6. Just finished a great canvass in Springfield. Solid support and new volunteers! Thx peterh for joining! #vt 9:14 PM Jul 1st via Twitter for Android
  7. Another great video from our supporters, featuring interviews from 8 legislators who have endorsed the campaign: http://bit.ly/9QeoRQ 2:32 PM Jul 1st via web
  8. Interesting editorial in #BurlingtonFreePress on the tone and message of the primary campaign. http://bit.ly/bwhHoP #vt 11:40 AM Jul 1st via web
  9. @PMGNicole great to see you as well. Net roots will make a difference in this race and good to see out in force. #vt 11:11 AM Jul 1st via Twitter for Android in reply to PMGNicole
  10. Great scene at social media after-hours @bistro http://twitpic.com/21dnsr #btvsmd #vt #vtgov 11:21 PM Jun 30th via Twitter for Android
  11. RT @hellosmalldog: Matt Dunne and our reigning social media queen @pmgnicole! http://yfrog.com/j9ouymj 11:15 PM Jun 30th via Twitter for Android
  12. @jabadillo thank u for the support! Spread the word & sign up to volunteer at WWW.mattdunne.com #vt 8:33 PM Jun 30th via Twitter for Android in reply to jabadillo
  13. Amazing view of our beautiful lake before youth build graduation. http://twitpic.com/21bzuz #vt 7:11 PM Jun 30th via Twitter for Android
  14. Waiting in traffic on Williston Road a guy in a Chevy shouted “With you Matt. We need change.” Word is spreading! #vt #vtgov

What would I like to see? How about:

  • Gallery Walk in Brattleboro showcases a wide variety of downtown businesses, great for tourists, great for Vermont! (insert link to http://www.gallerywalk.org)
  • New blog post will tell you why I think it’s time for Vermont to invest in renewable energy and how it will create jobs in the NEK. (insert link to non-existent blog post here)

Basic focus here should be about not reporting on your Maple Creemee Mr. Dunne, but more about telling me things you care about so I get a sense of why I might want to vote for you in the upcoming primary.

Facebook Official Page

(1,822 people like this page) The Campaign Official page at least has a URL (http://www.facebook.com/mattdunnevt). There’s photos and a nifty customized tab that lets you see videos and a photo slide show. The wall has a wide range of push posts from the campaign and a mix of supporter posts.  The engagement from the campaign, however is low. At the very minimum some “likes” on posts would be good and responses to anyone who takes the time to write would be a good thing as well. Most recent posts are from the Gallery Walk in Brattleboro (two pictures total).  I’m still left with little sense of issues and of what you plan to do for me as a voter.  What do you think has to be done right away?  I’m a bit surprised there aren’t any campaign widgets I can post on my Facebook — which would be a nice touch.  Also, watch that customized tab which has a link to “myspace” (hmmm…what’s that?) that doesn’t really work and a “share on Twitter” button that posts this, “Matt Dunne | Democrat for Governor http://apps.facebook.com/matt_dunn” in my status (why would I do that anyway — they can’t program something more interesting than that?). This could be much more interesting — but I do like the video feed — that’s very nice.  There were some discussions at some point early on, but those have died down.

What would I recommend for Facebook? More engagement — more linking, captions on photos, and pull in that non-existent blog to add depth of content for the Facebook-oriented constituents. Does anyone on the campaign have a smart phone? iPhone or Google OS would allow them to take pics and share them immediately on Facebook — add a quick caption or comment to add some depth.

Flickr and YouTube: Pretty straight up work on both of these sites — nicely done overall for YouTube with a good mix of videos and the direct link to the main website is good.  It’s clearly branded and about the only thing that the campaign should add is a direct link BACK to their website.  Flickr is just a list of pictures.  Could they brand this more strongly? Yes.  Should they? I think adding in some more specific content to help with SEO is enough as long as they are porting in the Flickr feed to their site.  By the way both of these sites could be incorporated nicely into a blog.

Social Media Recommendations:  In general the biggest challenge I can see for the Dunne campaign is a lack of a blog. Now won’t I have egg on my face if they actually have one?  Well…um…no, not really. Because then, why can’t I find it? So if there is one, the campaign has to do a better job of getting it found. They are missing a great opportunity to put meaningful content on the web — content that does more than tell me where he is right now and let’s me know how he plans to make a difference in my life as a Vermonter. Having said that the Campaign has all the right pieces in place. Now it’s time to step it up. Engage with people on Facebook (use that like button), add some interactivity such as polls and campaign widgets. Add more value with Twitter. Instead of telling me your location (which you can do nicely with FourSquare, by the way), give me information, link me to things that aren’t just campaign generated but are issues that I should know about as a voter and then have conversations and ask questions. Keep up the good work with YouTube and add a bit more word content to Flickr — as always be sure to link to all the different social sites and the main campaign site.

Final Thoughts: As I wrap this up I continue to be stunned that I cannot find a blog. I invite the campaign to let me know what the rational is for not having a candidate blog — and if I’ve totally missed it, please give me a link and I’ll write an update to this post.  The case for a blog for this candidate is clear: content, personality, content, engagement, content…hopefully you get the idea.