chapter  10
‘Pocket-sized’ politics
Binders, Big Bird and other memes of the 2012 US presidential campaign
BySandra Yao
Pages 22

In the digital age, increased opportunities for immediate access to information have created new forms of political interaction. The compression of complex ideas into small, viral, pocket-sized media such as internet memes has dramatically altered people's engagement with politics. This chapter traces the ways in which the memes that emerged during the 2012 US presidential debates represented a real-time translation of campaign events by the online community. They were facilitated by their succinct and easily accessible qualities, hence making them the ideal carriers of user-interpreted and simplified versions of campaign content. Internet memes represent a new springboard towards a politically driven grassroots engagement, where everyday individuals may become empowered as agents and agenda setters with a reach that can transcend geopolitical boundaries through digital access. Memes are representative of a catalogue of significant popular cultural moments, where the online community itself curates and assigns value through processes of dissemination, replication and/or imitation.