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4 qualities of Facebook’s most-shared stories

Yahoo and CNN dominated the list of Facebook’s 40 most-shared articles of the year, which the social network released today. Yahoo accounted for 13, CNN had 10, NYTimes and Huffington Post had 7, Washington Post with 3 and WSJ had 1 on the list.

The NYTimes wins the prize for the most-shared article of its stunning interactive of before-and-after photos of the Japan quake and tsunami. (Funny fact: There’s no “like” or “recommend” button on that page.) The second most-shared story, CNN’s “What teachers really want to tell parents,” was recommended 585,930 times, according to the Facebook button on the page.

Other things of note:

    1. The stories are useful, amazing or opinionated. Not much hard news or traditional politics here.
    2. Nearly all feature a short, grabby headline that explains the story well.
    3. Most stories are targeted more to women than men. 13 are about kids and/or parenting. Relationships, animals and astrology also have a strong showing.
    4. All stories are from major news organizations with good-sized FB pages (reach matters)

And I bet most of these stories were shared with the right Facebook meta tags to ensure a compelling photo accompanied the story. Any other observations to share?

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