Thanks to Facebook it’s easy—some would say too easy—to see what friends are reading around the Web, as people compulsively share links on the social network. Last week Facebook published a list of the 40 most shared stories on its platform, and a statement posted with the information read: “We recently looked at the most shared articles in the US on Facebook over the past year. The stories range from cute to thought provoking and represent the type of news people have been sharing and discovering with friends in 2011."

The results are interesting, not just because they are indicative of the huge range of topics people find interesting and worth sharing, but also because of the sources of these stories—while the dialogue of late has been about the end of mainstream media, and the rise of crowdsourced user-generated content, most of the shares were actually from news organizations, and none of the Top 40 entries were links to content belonging to an individual, such as a blog, or a YouTube video.

Most shared: What were you reading on Facebook?

Apple Inc.’s Steve Jobs was the only person who managed to figure more than once on the list, with the eulogy from his sister at No. 18, and Steve Jobs’ patents’ ending the list at No. 40, both articles from The New York Times, along with a CNN report on his death at No. 37. Also, while many of the stories shared the most were human-interest stories about dogs and crocodiles, it’s interesting to see that there were no stories about technology in the Top 40 shared items on Facebook.

Despite the frenzy that surrounds new devices such as the recently launched iPhone 4S, not one gadget story was in the Top 40, and despite the beliefs we might hold about the importance of celebrities, the only famous people on the list were Steve Jobs and the late Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The top 40 shared links on Facebook

Satellite Photos of Japan, Before and After the Quake and Tsunami (NYT)

What teachers really want to tell parents (CNN)

No, your zodiac sign hasn’t changed (CNN)

Parents, don’t dress your girls like tramps (CNN)

(video) - Father Daughter Dance Medley (Yahoo)

At funeral, dog mourns the death of Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan (Yahoo)

You’ll freak when you see the new Facebook (CNN)

Dog in Japan stays by the side of ailing friend in the rubble (Yahoo)

Giant crocodile captured alive in Philippines (Yahoo)

New Zodiac Sign Dates: Ophiuchus The 13th Sign? (The Huffington Post)

Parents keep child’s gender under wraps (Yahoo)

How to Talk to Little Girls (The Huffington Post)

Stop Coddling the Super-Rich (NYT)

Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior (Wall Street Journal)

(video) - Twin Baby Boys Have A Conversation! (Yahoo)

Man robs bank to get medical care in jail (Yahoo)

Why You’re Not Married (The Huffington Post)

A Sister’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs (NYT)

Ryan Dunn Dead: ‘Jackass’ Star Dies In Car Crash (The Huffington Post)

Scientists warn California could be struck by winter ‘superstorm’ (Yahoo)

Notes From a Dragon Mom (NYT)

A Message to Women From a Man: You Are Not “Crazy" (The Huffington Post)

Obama’s and Bush’s effects on the deficit in one graph (Washington Post)

Penn State, my final loss of faith (Washington Post)

Golden-Voiced Homeless Man Captivates Internet (Yahoo)

The most typical face on the planet (Yahoo)

Widespread destruction from Japan earthquake, tsunamis (CNN)

Permissive parents: Curb your brats (CNN)

A father’s day wish: Dads, wake the hell up! (CNN)

(video) — Laughing Baby Loves Ripping Paper! (Yahoo)

Epic Cover Letter: How To Get Hired For Your Dream Job (The Huffington Post)

New Zodiac sign dates: Don’t switch horoscopes yet (Washington Post)

Things Babies Born in 2011 Will Never Know (Yahoo)

Why We Should Stop Celebrating Osama Bin Laden’s Death (The Huffington Post)

(photo gallery) — ‘Where Children Sleep’ (NYT)

Quake moved Japan coast 8 feet, shifted Earth’s axis (CNN)

Steve Jobs, Apple founder, dies (CNN)

China’s latest craze: dyeing pets to look like other wild animals (CNN)

Grant Hill’s Response to Jalen Rose (NYT)

Steve Jobs’s Patents (NYT)

gopal.s@livemint.com

Close