Techmeme's biggest (i.e. tallest) stories of 2012
Now that we've examined the year's trending terms, our final retrospectacular tour of 2012 examines the stories themselves. On Techmeme, the biggest stories usually become the tallest stories as different angles of reporting and analysis pile up, creating story clusters that can run several screen lengths. Last year we examined the tallest clusters to review 2011, and we'll now cement this exercise as a tradition by doing the same for 2012.
The results: The table below lists the year's story clusters with 10 or more headlines, ordered by number of headlines. It's important to understand that each headline shown here is just the one that happened to be the leading headline when its cluster reached the maximal size. So these headlines don't always indicate the most representative story of the bunch, the best summary, or the most cited story. Clicking through to peruse the full cluster is the best way to understand the coverage each link represents.
What do we see? The stories dominating this list are mainly announcements, often product introductions, from the industry's largest firms, often Apple. Apple's pervasiveness here should come as no surprise; its products affect nearly the entire industry in a profound way. Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Apple account for most of the stories on this list.
OK, but what's REALLY going on? While you could interpret this list ten different ways, one point really stands out to me. Never before in this industry have so many of the biggest news stories seemed part of a unified narrative, in which the latest development illuminates and extends our understanding of the previous one. This is, of course, an outgrowth of the megatrend noted in recent years that finds each of the tech titans engaged in a single great conflagration. One Apple keynote can signal increased competition with four other tech giants across a half dozen product fronts, while also revealing new forms of cooperation and integration. If it's a game of chess, where the pieces are hardware, operating systems, app stores, social graphs, developers, and search, then it's a 5-way game of chess. Or maybe a 4-way or 7-way game.
Whatever the operative game analogy may be, we appreciate that you've come to Techmeme for the play-by-play. We've long taken an industry-wide view, from the titans to the startups, plus the ecosystem and rules that bind them all. And we'll be very happy to serve you all the more in 2013. Happy New Year!