Binders Full of Women: The Comment That Launched a Thousand Social Media PagesBy: Josh Wolford - October 17, 2012
Last night’s second Presidential debate saw the two candidates clash over mostly domestic issues, with a few foreign issues sprinkled in. The town hall format meant that audience members got to ask the questions, and one particular response from Mitt Romney to a question on gender equality in the workplace led the social media world to go crazy creating pages and accounts.
Here’s Romney’s statement, for context:
An important topic, and one which I learned a great deal about, particularly as I was serving as governor of my state, because I had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be men.
And I – and I went to my staff, and I said, “How come all the people for these jobs are – are all men.” They said: “Well, these are the people that have the qualifications.”
And I said: “Well, gosh, can’t we find some – some women that are also qualified?”
And – and so we – we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet. I went to a number of women’s groups and said: “Can you help us find folks,” and they brought us whole binders full of women.
And with that, “Binders full of women” exploded across Facebook and Twitter. Social insight firm Topsy says that Twitter activity spiked to its highest point of the night during the discussion of discrimination in the workplace. Tweets containing the word “women” peaked at 24,170 per minute at that time.
Many of them, I would expect, also containing the words “binder” and “full.”
The odd phrase received plenty of Twitter backlash, most of it looking something like this:
“Binders full of women” is what Ed Gein would say. #debate
And within ten minutes of the utterance, Twitter accounts like @BindersofWomen and @mittsbinder were born. @RomneyBinders also now has over 33,000 followers.
I wonder if Romney has an elevator for his binders full of women
Facebook users also joined the party, creating dozens of “binders full of women”-related pages and groups. A quick search of “women binders” will show you this. Facebook’s Politics and Government team says that Romney’s “binders” comment shop up 213,900% at one point.
Out of all those pages, one stands proud as the leader. Binders Full of Women has already amassed 243,000 followers and is growing by about 5,000 likes every half an hour or so. Within an hour of being created last night, the group had already garnered over 80,000 likes.
The page even had Facebook employees impressed with its rapid growth:
Holy moly this Facebook page is growing fast: https://t.co/3rLgVuxz
There’s even a “Binders Full of Women” Tumblr that already has dozens of posts.
As you would expect, the Obama campaign team is jumping on the phrase as well:
Mitt Romney still won’t say whether he’d stand up for equal pay, but he did tell us he has “binders full of women.” http://t.co/Twy8XlH0
People say that the internet has made this campaign unlike any other campaign in history. Man, are they right.