Techmeme's biggest stories of 2011, literally, as measured by height

Monday, January 2, 2012 6:45AM ET
by Gabe Rivera (@gaberivera)     Permalink

One of the best things about Techmeme is how "huge" or "big" stories can literally be that: conveyed through a stack of headlines several times taller than your screen size. (Unless you hate this, in which case it's one of the worst things, but moving on…) For our 2011 wrap up, for a change, we're going to ignore all our other, mostly invisible relevance metrics, and focus on this visible and nonmetaphorical type of "bigness". What follows are 2011's 25 biggest stories in terms of the number of headlines (not counting "Discussion") contained in Techmeme's clusters of related stories.

To elaborate on how we present the list: since Apple's announcement of a Verizon iPhone 4 sat atop a 12-story cluster focused on that news, it appears in the 10th position of our table, behind taller story clusters, but ahead of shorter ones.

What do the "biggest" tech stories tell us about 2011? First, it was a year of resignation and loss. In particular, the loss of Steve Jobs, which played out in three dramatic stages, beginning with his medical leave in January, escalating with his resignation as CEO in August, and culminating with his passing in October, which unsurprisingly tops our list. What don't the biggest stories tell us? Very little about financing trends and IPOs, the security breaches and leaks, the policy challenges, talent wars, and other issues that factored heavily this past year. Even as the importance of the startup grew profoundly in 2011, only Apple and a few other titans of tech could reliably marshal the attention the entire industry.

Rank Headlines Top Headline
1.25Apple:Steve Jobs — 1955-2011
2.19Apple:Apple Launches iPhone 4S, iOS 5 & iCloud
3.19Apple:Steve Jobs Resigns as CEO of Apple
4.15Nokia Conversations:Open Letter from CEO Stephen Elop, Nokia and CEO Steve Ballmer, Microsoft
5.15Samuel W. Lessin / Facebook Blog:Tell Your Story with Timeline
6.15Om Malik / GigaOM:Exclusive: Guess who else wanted to buy Motorola?
7.14Om Malik / GigaOM:In AT&T & T-Mobile Merger, Everybody Loses
8.13Joshua Topolsky / This is my next:HP: ‘We are not walking away from webOS;’ exclusive details from inside
9.13Bloomberg:Amazon Unveils $199 Kindle Fire Tablet
10.12Apple:Verizon Wireless & Apple Team Up to Deliver iPhone 4 on Verizon
11.11Microsoft:Microsoft to Acquire Skype
12.11Apple:Apple Media Advisory
13.11Apple:Apple Launches iPad 2
14.11Microsoft:Microsoft Reimagines Windows, Presents Windows 8 Developer Preview
15.10Jeff Benjamin / 4S Showdown: AT&T vs. Verizon vs. Sprint Speed Test!
16.9Kara Swisher / AllThingsD:Exclusive: Carol Bartz Out at Yahoo; CFO Tim Morse Named Interim CEO
17.9Hugo Barra / The Official Google Blog:Android: momentum, mobile and more at Google I/O
18.9Michael Muchmore / PC Magazine:Apple iCloud vs. Amazon Cloud Player vs. Google Music Beta
19.9Apple:Apple Launches Subscriptions on the App Store
20.9Vic Gundotra / The Official Google Blog:Introducing the Google+ project: Real-life sharing, rethought for the web
21.9Twitter Blog:Let's Fly
22.9James Cowie / Renesys Blog:Egypt Leaves the Internet
23.9Eric Schmidt / The Official Google Blog:An update from the Chairman
24.9Ben Parr / Mashable!:Color to Get Major Update, Fix ‘Loneliness’ Problem
25.9HP:HP Names Meg Whitman President and Chief Executive Officer

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