We Need Smith, a mysterious effort to independently promote unidentified presidential and congressional candidates who favor good things and oppose bad things, has been getting some prominent promotion in the news media lately.
A FOX News segment on July 5 of this year devoted a full five minutes of airtime to promoting We Need Smith, with Doug Schoen of No Labels and Americans Elect chipping in choreographed words of agreement to bolster We Need Smith’s leader and frequent FOX commentator Patrick Caddell. On that day and the day before, Huffington Post published glowing articles promoting We Need Smith. Also on that day, the Daily Mail published a favorable piece. A hundred blog posts on We Need Smith followed in the month of July 2014. Nothing says “news blitz” like such concentrated coverage.
What did We Need Smith win from this news blitz? Not much. On July 5, as a clip from the FOX video shows, 2543 people had signed up for accounts on the We Need Smith website. Since early August I’ve been tracking the count of followers named on the We Need Smith website. On August 5, the number of supporters had risen to 4,999. At most, the four professional news media stories and a hundred blog posts led to at most 2,556 new adherents, a low conversion rate for a large number of views and readers. Since August 5, We Need Smith has gained an average of just six new followers a day.
What about Facebook and Twitter? So far this week, We Need Smith’s Twitter account has lost 14 followers. Since yesterday, We Need Smith’s Facebook account has lost 1 like. That’s not the direction an honest-to-goodness grassroots movement should be hoping for.