The 20 most-shared stories on Facebook in 2011

Animals, parenting, superstitions, and more dominate this list—so do stories from CNN and Yahoo.

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At least these are the conclusions I have drawn based on the year’s most-shared stories on Facebook, which the social network shared on Tuesday.

The No. 1 story—”Satellite Photos of Japan, Before and After the Quake and Tsunami”—clearly shows our voyeuristic side. So does our obsession with death stories, funeral stories, and eulogies (no wonder a funeral story involving a dog is No. 6 on the list).

The presence of two dog stories and a crocodile story in the top 20 suggests what those of us who have worked in a newsroom have always known: animals = page views.

Two stories about astrological signs in the top 10? I’d say that makes us superstitious.

And parents—you just can’t help sharing those stories about how to be better moms and dads, how to talk to your kids, and why Chinese mothers are superior (No. 14).

In terms of news outlets we love to share, three of the top five stories are from CNN. Yahoo has four in the top 19. Apparently, conservatives don’t like to share, as Fox News didn’t have a single story in the top 40.

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