Jeremy Lettiere|Jul 24, 2012

This month, the American Customer Satisfaction Index released a study revealing that Google+ is the highest rated social network with regard to customer satisfaction.

Facebook, the powerhouse social network with nearly 1 billion users, ranked below all major social channels including LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube.

But that’s not what I find interesting about this study. What caught my attention is how social networking as a whole ranks in customer satisfaction when compared to other industries. ACSI reports:

The lackluster customer satisfaction of several of these sites, coupled with a steep decline for Facebook, results in a 1.4% drop for the overall category to an ACSI score of 69—one of the lowest of all industries (only airlines, subscription TV, and newspapers fare worse).

So while people generally appreciate the ability to connect and share information online, they apparently severely dislike the tools that allow them to do it. So what is it about social sites that appear to rub people the wrong way?

1. Trust

If there is one gigantic mistake that social networking sites have made, it’s not working to gain the trust of their users. Facebook is notorious for not taking the privacy of their users into consideration, and Google was immediately under fire when they first introduced those suspicious social features into their search results.

Social technology moves fast. Changes, even modifications affecting privacy, often occur with little warning. This ever-evolving atmosphere makes users feel like powerless pawns, devoid of choice, with no ability to affect the framework of their online social experience.

2. Advertising

Advertising has been the arch-enemy of internet users since those annoying banner ads first began to appear in the mid-’90s, sullying the formerly pristine web with distracting messages of larger sex organs and easy weight loss.

Despite the modern day sophistication of social media’s targeted ads that “know” what products you like and “sponsored stories” that strive to appear organic, recent polls show that 80 percent of Facebook users haven’t purchased a product as a result of ads. If there is one monumental reason why Google+ is above Facebook in the ACSI rankings, it’s because Google+ has yet to add advertising to the network.

3. The Love Affair is Over

Social networks are no longer the shiny new thing that all the cool kids are talking about. The cool kid’s grandparents are now on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.

For quite a few years now, people have been sharing photos, videos, events and anecdotes with their friends and acquaintances on social networks. Social media is, for the most part, just another mundane aspect of people’s lives.

What was once an underground party fueled by innovation and thriving with youth is now a utility – and nobody roots for a utility.


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