Users dissatisfied with social networks – are you surprised?

Apparently American consumers surveyed in the 2010 American Customer Survey Index ranked Facebook lower than any other business in its category, but it still managed to beat Myspace by a point. Facebook scored 64 out of 100, Myspace scored 63 out of 100, and by comparison Google scored 80 (A drop of 7 points on last year’s score). (h/t Mashable).

The question is whether anyone is surprised:

a) That social networks can lead to dissatisfaction?

or

b) That social networks are still growing massively despite such dissatisfaction?

(Note – I’m not picking out any specific network here – I’m talking about everything from a traditional forum to the big social networks).

Firstly, social networks in themselves can be immensely frustrating and problematic – knowing how they work, putting up with them when they crash, receiving messages about problems from an anonymous staff member with no route to reply or dispute are just some of the things which can annoy social network users.

As someone who has used social networks for many years, I’ve become accustomed to the fact that quite often you can try for months to get a response on a business-related issue. Sometimes even when you want to spend some budget with the company in question.

But it’s even worse if you’re a ‘normal’ user – when you signed up to the Terms and Conditions, you agreed your account could be deleted, and unless the media or a prominent tech blogger takes up your case, there’s no real recourse.

Secondly, social networks are fantastic and will continue to grow and attract new users, even amongst those frustrated with them. And it’s all because of a simple selling point – other people. Even if a social network is clunky and frustrating to use, you’ll continue to use it if there’s a critical mass of your friends, family, contacts and information.

Unfortunately Twitter wasn’t included, as so many people encounter it via a 3rd party client. And I didn’t see any mention of LinkedIn. Suffice to say, most of the main social networks do a reasonable job until something goes wrong – then you’re at the mercy of a large company which has scaled quickly to deal with massive demand.

Interestingly, Wikipedia topped the Social Media category with a score of 77. In News and Information, FoxNews.com debuted with a score of 82, which is the highest ever for any news site. There’s a little more info at ForeSee Results.