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Techmeme's top 20 headline terms of 2012, and what they signify

Posted Sunday, December 23, 2012 10:51PM ET by Gabe Rivera (@gaberivera)     Permalink

We can uncover a variety of patterns analyzing the data Techmeme has accumulated over the years, and given Techmeme's pan-industry focus, these findings can signal large-scale trends developing across the tech industry.

One simple analysis is ranking terms by the percentage of Techmeme headlines in which they appeared. Results for the top 20 words from 2012 headlines appear in the table below. We only count headlines fully featured on Techmeme, which are also those tweeted by @Techmeme, and not those merely appearing beneath headlines in "More". This table also excludes the 164 words most common to writing and general news (like "the" and "to").

1.apple11.45%
2.google9.93%
3.facebook7.55%
4.microsoft4.88%
5.app4.34%
6.windows4.14%
7.mobile3.73%
8.android3.67%
9.iphone3.50%
10.million3.41%
11.samsung3.32%
12.ipad3.21%
13.us3.12%
14.twitter2.81%
15.video2.44%
16.launches2.41%
17.ios2.41%
18.82.41%
19.phone2.35%
20.amazon2.32%

Several things stand out from this list:
- Yeah, Apple is #1. It's no surprise that tech's largest company by revenue, market cap, and influence is also the biggest newsmaker, appearing in over 11.45% of Techmeme's headlines.
- Google finishes a close second. Its market cap and revenues are less than half of Apple's, but its massive reach, wide array of products, and key role in the mobile platform wars keep it in the news 9.93% of the time, not very far behind Apple.
- Facebook and Twitter dominate social wars. The top 20 list has room for just two social networking products. Facebook, the leader in reach and revenue, appears in Techmeme headlines 7.55% of the time while Twitter, its pithier nemesis, racked up mentions in 2.81% of headlines.
- Microsoft and Techmeme's G7: Rounding out the list beyond the four aforementioned firms are Samsung plus Washington State's two tech titans: Microsoft and Amazon. Microsoft was notably missing from the list of consumer-focused platform companies Eric Schmidt once dubbed the "Gang of Four" but with its enterprise dominance, enormous revenues, and massive investment in reclaiming market share on the devices of the future, Microsoft remains a Techmeme regular.
- The future, and present, is mobile. Techmeme's top 20 is full of terms mainly associated with mobile, like app, mobile, Android, iPhone, iPad, Samsung, iOS, and phone. Other terms like Apple of course have strong mobile associations too.
- The number 8: We counted only individual words, not full product names, leading to the preponderance of headlines about Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 pushing the numeral "8" into the 18th place.

Wondering about the next 20? Our full list goes well past 20, but we'll save that for another post, in which we'll also identify trending terms, those that have gained or lost the most in frequency since 2011. We're just getting started, so check back after Christmas for much more!

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