Saving Lives with Facebook

900 million active users. 125 billion friend connections. 10.5 billion minutes spent on site per day. That’s a lot of power contained within the pages of Facebook. And now, with the addition of the new Organ Donation feature, Facebook is harnessing that power for good.

Small acts of good take place on Facebook every day. From returning mementos to Joplin tornado victims to locating loved ones after the Japanese tsunami, Facebook users have found creative ways to use the power of the social network to help others in need.

This new initiative, introduced by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on May 1, will enable users to share their organ donor status and to register to become a donor.

Social Media Response

As Radian6 reported, the response has been overwhelming. With over 43,500 social media mentions in the first three days following the announcement, the sentiment around the organ donation feature was very positive.

Over 76 percent of the social media chatter following the announcement was positive, with people praising the social media king — and Mark Zuckerberg — for their forward thinking, calling it a “game changer” in the world of social media and encouraging users to register.

Of course, as with everything, there are those who oppose this Facebook feature. Some say that one’s organ donor status is too personal to share in such a public forum. Others suggest that this feature, while a good step, isn’t enough and that Facebook can do more.

Along with providing Facebook with positive publicity, organ donation has also become “trendy” and is seeing — for lack of a better phrase — new life. There has been a significant spike in registrants and, according to Donate Life America, online donor registries saw a 23-fold surge in the days following Zuckerberg’s announcement.

Will it work?

Your Facebook timeline can serve as a platform for virtual peer pressure. As you see your friends checking in to restaurants, posting pictures of experiences and listening to certain bands, you are more inclined to do the same.

Facebook is leveraging that peer pressure to do good. If you see that your friends, family, coworkers, colleagues, etc., are organ donors, you might be more likely to declare your status or register.

Only time will tell how this feature will pan out — how many new organ donors will register because of it and how many lives will be saved. But one thing is clear — this new addition to Facebook has opened the door for many new social media uses.

Who knows what will be next (recognition for donating blood, logging volunteer hours, or registering to vote?), but it will certainly be interesting to see if this theme — social media saving the world — translates onto other platforms and causes.

Interested in sharing your organ donor status with your Facebook community?

  1. Click “Life Event” at the top of your timeline.
  2. Select Health and Wellness
  3. Select Organ Donor.
  4. Select your audience and click save.

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