Techmeme

Which headline terms trended in 2012 on Techmeme?

Posted Friday, December 28, 2012 1:47PM ET by Gabe Rivera (@gaberivera)     Permalink


"Help! I'm trending!"
Forget all those other tacky end-of-year lists, and sit back and enjoy Techmeme's latest awesome end-of-year lists. Yep, it's finally time to dive into the terms that trended up or down the most in Techmeme headlines this year.

To determine that, we first had to compute the year's most frequent terms by absolute percentage of their appearance in Techmeme headlines, and we placed the top 200 such terms in the first table below. We already looked at the first 20 earlier this week and observed a few things, but the full 200 now appear here. A lot more can be said about this much longer list, but we'll leave that to other folks as we move on to the trending terms.

To find which terms trended, we computed a similar "most frequent terms" list for 2011, and then found the terms gaining or losing the most in frequency between 2011 and 2012, weighing for both absolute and relative changes. Results appear as soon as you scroll past the first big table.

2012 Top 200 Techmeme Headline Terms By Title Frequency
1.apple11.45%51.at&t1.22%101.security0.82%151.design0.62%
2.google9.93%52.big1.20%102.software0.81%152.xbox0.62%
3.facebook7.55%53.update1.20%103.top0.81%153.stock0.62%
4.microsoft4.88%54.year1.20%104.business0.80%154.future0.61%
5.app4.34%55.announces1.19%105.blackberry0.80%155.today0.61%
6.windows4.14%56.ipo1.19%106.sprint0.80%156.os0.61%
7.mobile3.73%57.tech1.17%107.30.80%157.judge0.61%
8.android3.67%58.startup1.15%108.world0.78%158.shows0.60%
9.iphone3.50%59.company1.14%109.plan0.78%159.makes0.60%
10.million3.41%60.cloud1.08%110.10.78%160.access0.60%
11.samsung3.32%61.uk1.08%111.market0.78%161.still0.60%
12.ipad3.21%62.free1.07%112.s0.75%162.price0.59%
13.us3.12%63.verizon1.06%113.netflix0.75%163.updates0.59%
14.twitter2.81%64.101.05%114.ads0.75%164.wireless0.59%
15.video2.44%65.privacy1.05%115.percent0.75%165.lawsuit0.58%
16.launches2.41%66.maps1.04%116.open0.74%166.help0.58%
17.ios2.41%67.network1.04%117.office0.74%167.game0.58%
18.82.41%68.support1.04%118.jobs0.73%168.fire0.58%
19.phone2.35%69.rim1.01%119.case0.73%169.offers0.58%
20.amazon2.32%70.court1.00%120.sony0.72%170.content0.57%
21.apps2.14%71.devices0.99%121.mac0.72%171.hits0.57%
22.data2.05%72.motorola0.98%122.acquires0.72%172.sharing0.57%
23.users1.95%73.available0.96%123.20130.72%173.eu0.57%
24.web1.86%74.plans0.95%124.tablets0.71%174.user0.56%
25.ceo1.81%75.music0.95%125.news0.70%175.oracle0.56%
26.launch1.80%76.lte0.94%126.goes0.70%176.others0.56%
27.service1.79%77.live0.94%127.70.70%177.pay0.56%
28.social1.79%78.platform0.92%128.brings0.69%178.itunes0.56%
29.patent1.75%79.off0.91%129.google+0.69%179.steve0.55%
30.yahoo1.70%80.instagram0.90%130.updated0.69%180.wants0.55%
31.tv1.68%81.share0.90%131.buys0.69%181.finally0.55%
32.billion1.66%82.smartphone0.88%132.4g0.68%182.week0.55%
33.51.58%83.youtube0.87%133.review0.68%183.photos0.54%
34.search1.58%84.patents0.86%134.use0.67%184.features0.54%
35.nokia1.55%85.htc0.86%135.phones0.66%185.lumia0.54%
36.internet1.54%86.nexus0.85%136.chief0.66%186.month0.54%
37.gets1.53%87.intel0.85%137.digital0.66%187.releases0.53%
38.20121.50%88.revenue0.85%138.40.65%188.hands-on0.53%
39.raises1.49%89.buy0.84%139.better0.65%189.chrome0.53%
40.exclusive1.49%90.site0.84%140.valley0.65%190.lets0.53%
41.galaxy1.44%91.zynga0.83%141.hp0.64%191.services0.53%
42.tablet1.42%92.display0.83%142.play0.64%192.zuckerberg0.53%
43.adds1.36%93.kindle0.83%143.surface0.64%193.former0.53%
44.next1.36%94.developers0.83%144.t-mobile0.64%194.groupon0.53%
45.china1.35%95.media0.83%145.silicon0.63%195.streaming0.53%
46.online1.31%96.60.82%146.confirms0.63%196.feature0.52%
47.store1.30%97.ad0.82%147.talks0.63%197.official0.52%
48.sales1.27%98.takes0.82%148.own0.63%198.set0.52%
49.coming1.27%99.report0.82%149.sell0.62%199.reveals0.52%
50.deal1.23%100.20.82%150.mini0.62%200.megaupload0.52%

Trending terms and how we got them (it's a little complicated): Trending terms are divided into two tables, one for those trending up, and one for down. Changes between 2011 and 2012 are represented by two numbers here. The first, Absolute Gain, is formed by subtracting 2011 frequencies from the 2012 frequences (remember, the ones appearing in the top table). The second, Relative Gain, divides the Absolute Gain by the corresponding 2011 frequency. Since these tables aren't ordered strictly by Relative Gain (or Loss) and Absolute Gain (or Loss), where does Rank come from? In short, by ordering terms according to a quantity combining both Relative and Absolute. This follows from confronting the following dilemma: what's more "trending", a term mentioned 10 times in 2012 instead of once in 2011 (a 10X gain, but only +9 occurrences), or a term mentioned 1000 times in 2012 instead of 500 in 2011 (a 2x gain, but +500 occurrences)? To account for both forms of "trendingness", we multiply Absolute Gain by a function mapping Relative Gain to a 0-1 scale, and then sort, deriving the Rank you see here.

2012 Trending Down
RankWordAbs.
loss
Rel.
loss
1.steve0.9363%
2.jobs0.955%
3.hp0.8457%
4.iphone1.4229%
5.groupon0.7157%
6.20110.6757%
7.verizon0.8344%
8.4s0.4970%
9.20.746%
10.touchpad0.3492%
11.egypt0.31100%
12.xoom0.3194%
13.honeycomb0.2898%
14.mango0.25100%
15.webos0.3179%
16.google+0.5343%
17.playbook0.3271%
18.sony0.4940%
19.at&t0.633%
20.aol0.3851%
21.http0.364%
22.20100.2475%
23.t-mobile0.4340%
24.skype0.3648%
25.lulzsec0.2181%
26.t.co0.1890%
27.myspace0.2273%
28.thunderbolt0.2175%
29.playstation0.2368%
30.arrington0.1886%
31.schmidt0.2659%
32.4.30.1694%
33.flash0.2755%
34.iq0.1594%
35.wikileaks0.2164%
36.social0.5423%
37.hulu0.2549%
38.twitter0.6519%
39.html50.257%
40.lodsys0.1387%
41.wp70.1199%
42.merger0.1571%
43.news0.3332%
44.ice0.1761%
45.apotheker0.199%
2012 Trending Up
RankWordAbs.
gain
Rel.
gain
1.81.52171%
2.20130.64800%
3.samsung1.3367%
4.surface0.58967%
5.windows1.4654%
6.instagram0.68309%
7.maps0.73235%
8.mini0.54675%
9.megaupload0.49999+%
10.lumia0.47671%
11.pinterest0.42999+%
12.iii0.41999+%
13.20120.75100%
14.60.55204%
15.retina0.34486%
16.rt0.28999+%
17.play0.40167%
18.kickstarter0.26999+%
19.mayer0.28560%
20.adds0.5670%
21.mountain0.26650%
22.announces0.5072%
23.nexus0.4298%
24.galaxy0.5460%
25.uk0.4674%
26.bay0.26289%
27.dotcom0.20999+%
28.note0.24343%
29.display0.3989%
30.facebook1.1718%
31.jelly0.18999+%
32.bean0.18999+%
33.eu0.32128%
34.pirate0.27193%
35.launches0.6537%
36.office0.3590%
37.cook0.26173%
38.app0.8324%
39.series0.26144%
40.lte0.3868%
41.thompson0.15999+%
42.path0.21233%
43.uber0.18360%
44.marissa0.18360%
45.patent0.4939%
46.9000.16533%
47.proview0.13999+%
48.xbox0.2882%
49.tv0.4638%
50.better0.2876%
51.9200.12999+%
52.omgpop0.12999+%
53.passbook0.12999+%
54.microsoft0.7618%
55.ftc0.22116%
56.apps0.5030%
57.mobile0.6621%
58.privacy0.3550%
59.court0.3452%
60.sharp0.14467%
61.firm0.23100%
62.kim0.13650%
63.restructuring0.13650%
64.acta0.13650%
65.election0.12999+%
66.olympics0.12999+%
67.lg0.2296%
68.education0.15250%
69.tim0.2288%
70.onlive0.12600%
71.lightning0.12600%
72.pipa0.12600%
73.chief0.2665%
74.kodak0.16178%
75.international0.18129%
76.crowdfunding0.11999+%
77.un0.11999+%
78.design0.2568%
79.foxconn0.20100%
80.s40.10999+%

What do 2012 Trending Up tell us? There's a lot to mine from this information, but I'll make a few easy points:
8, surface, windows, and microsoft: Microsoft's back…in the news, as launches around Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and Surface propelled these terms into headlines far more than before.
facebook: This shows what a long-awaited and much-watched IPO can do to a news topic, especially if the aftermath is bumpier than anyone predicted.
instagram: What produces more media coverage than massive adoption (2011)? Massive adoption plus a pivotal acquisition plus a TOS brouhaha (2012).
mini: Though ipad didn't trend up much, mini sure did.
megaupload, dotcom, and kim: For companies pressing against legal boundaries, quiet years (2011) can be much happier than the years in which you get a ton of press (2012).
patent: It'll disappoint many but surprise few across the tech industry that occurrences of "patent" were up 39% in Techmeme headlines.

In 2012 Trending Down we're presented with both the obvious and the surprising.
steve and jobs: When Steve Jobs died last year, he loomed larger than ever in news for the remainder of the year. But then the inevitable second wave of his passing arrived, as we moved on to other topics. (But not completely.)
iphone: An unexpected turn for some may be iPhone's trending down as a headline term, even as iPhone adoption continued to balloon internationally as well as in the U.S. in 2012. But 2011 was in fact a bigger news year for iPhones, as it saw two major launches in the U.S. (Verizon and the 4S), and moreover many of the details surrounding the iPhone 5 were uncovered as early as 2011.
hp: 2011 was a bigger news year for HP, when they last switched CEOs, and when they dithered on whether they'd abandon their PC business (no) and webOS (yes). 2012 had surprises, but fewer.

While a lot more could be said here, I believe a post containing large tables full of words should take it easy with the explanatory prose, so I hope you've enjoyed these lists, and will perhaps produce your own insights from the preceding data!

 

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