Popular social networking sites are frustrating users, according to WatchMouse – by making them wait. Research from the leading website monitoring company has shown that Web 2.0 sites often lag behind other commercial sites in performance – they are often slow to open or fail to load properly. WatchMouse monitored the time it took the social networking sites listed on Wikipedia to load. The results showed that the worst, in terms of availability, was the popular Facebook.
Other well-known culprits included Twitter, last.fm, Windows Live Spaces, Friendster and del.icio.us. Of the 104 sites monitored, nearly half – 51 earned a Site Performance Index (SPI) of 1000 or more, which indicates very slow load time. This was an unexpected outcome, considering most of these sites rely heavily on Ajax, which generally delivers quicker load times because the dynamics of the site do not load immediately. While first generation websites generally required a webpage to fully load each time a user clicked, the use of Ajax helps websites improve interactivity, speed, functionality and usability by instead exchanging small amounts of data with the server upon user action.
Faceparty performed the best – with an SPI of 303 – indicating that users can access the site most frequently and in the fastest time among the monitored social networking sites.