Is Facebook headed for trouble?

July 21, 2010

Steve

For anyone who has used/still uses Facebook, then probably nothing here too surprising. Maybe generation Y users (who apparently scored it a bit higher than generation X users) don’t yet have the experience to know what a good user interface looks like – and it’s certainly not Facebook. Giving the average user more than 3 choices of action on any web page is likely to bring on cognitive dissonance. I’ve just counted 22 possible options on my Facebook homepage (I use it because I have to in a work-related sense). As Apple discovered some time ago, the interface IS the product, and not all the bells and whistles that developers squeeze under the hood.

Does Mark Zuckerberg care? Probably not while he’s got 400 million users and growing. It would be interesting to know what the attrition or churn rates are though. However, if anecdotal evidence from my (relatively small) circle of friends is anything to go by, users are either putting up with the pain because they are getting something useful from the site, or they have given up and gone elsewhere.

Once the ‘next big thing’ gets launched – this year? Next year? I’ve a feeling that Facebook will be looking at the same sort of future as Bebo and Myspace – i.e. a diminishing audience. There’s time to take action and improve the user experience, but that needs to happen now!

Amplify’d from www.informationweek.com

This may be one of the most visited websites on the Internet, but, according to the 2010 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) E-Business report, unveiled today, it’s definitely not the best loved. The ACSI has been around for more than 20 years, but this is the first time it’s taken the pulse of the social media market.

This time around, four such sites — Facebook, MySpace, Wikipedia, and YouTube — were added to the mix. Consumers were asked to rate their satisfaction with these players on a scale of 1 to 100. Wikipedia garnered the highest score in the group (77), and MySpace earned the lowest (63). But Facebook’s score of 64 failed to impress. (YouTube scored a 73.) Of the 30 online companies rated in the ACSI, Facebook and MySpace got the two lowest customer satisfaction ratings. Of the total 223 companies rated (both online and bricks-and-mortar), only 10 scored 65 or below. That puts the two social networking sites in the bottom 5% of all the private-sector companies in the survey. Ouch.

So, what is it about Facebook that people don’t like? There’s a laundry list, and it includes the following: 1) privacy and security setups; 2) advertisements; 3) always-changing interfaces; 4) spam; and 5) “annoying applications with constant notifications.” (OK, I have to interject here to say that I was somewhat relieved to hear all of this. The reason I’m hardly ever on Facebook, despite frequent badgering from friends, is that I get frustrated every time I go to the site. It’s not user-friendly; it hangs; and it’s not easy to navigate. I was beginning to suspect that my age was the culprit, but now I feel redeemed � at least a little.)

For one thing, Facebook has a monopoly on the social media market. With more than 500 million users, it’s the only place to go if you wanna be where your peeps are. Second, customer satisfaction appears to vary somewhat by age group. Generation Y’ers are more satisfied with Facebook than, say, their parents (Gen X’ers), and it’s the younger folks, after all, who really propelled Facebook into the stratosphere. But this is something that Facebook won’t be able to ignore for long. Older adults comprise the fastest-growing Facebook segment, so their dissatisfaction with the site could really complicate matters. Third, and I’ll quote right from the report: “Customers are willing to suffer through a poor experience in return for the benefits Facebook provides.” Fourth, it’s just too darn inconvenient to move all of our photos and videos to another social networking site.

Read more at www.informationweek.com

 

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