On Tuesday, Facebook announced that its users can now declare that they are registered organ donors by adding an "organ donor status" to their timelines, in the same way that they'd add a relationship status. The social network said it hopes this new feature will raise "broader awareness about organ donation" and encourage people to officially register as organ donors.
It's peer pressure at its best — and it might just be working.
A Facebook spokesperson informed me that "as of late [Tuesday] afternoon, more than 100,000 people had stated on their Facebook timelines that they are an organ donor." As this number may include users who were registered organ donors before the new status feature was added or people who aren't actually officially registered as donors, it is not particularly indicative of what's happening.
But data collected by Donate Life America — a not-for-profit alliance of national organizations and state teams committed to increasing organ, eye and tissue donation — gives us a better idea of what may be happening.
A spokesperson for the alliance informed me that Donate Life America has heard from most of its members and that they "have seen a very significant increase in both traffic to their registry websites and actual registration." She added that the exact numbers are still being gathered, but did offer a look at the preliminary data.
As of Wednesday morning, Donate Life America had seen more than 18,000 click-throughs from Facebook to state organ donor registries. It also saw a "dramatic increase" in likes on its Facebook page (which jumped from barely over 50,000 on Monday evening to about 70,000 by Wednesday afternoon).
These details suggest that awareness about organ donation saw a boost, but what about actual donor registrations?
Well, there are definitely some big jumps. The team from Minnesota, which normally gets about three new organ donor registrations per day reported that there were 285 new registrations on Tuesday and another 90 before breakfast time on Wednesday. North Carolina had 578 new registrations on Tuesday and 121 by Wednesday morning. Indiana reported that it was "just shy" of 300 new registrations on Tuesday.
California alone saw 3,904 new registrations on Tuesday — which was a 5,000 percent increase of the prior day's numbers.
The data for other states follows a similar pattern: A huge jump in registrations on Tuesday and no drop in sight.
While this initial data doesn't mean that the trend will continue or that Facebook has solved a major medical issue, it does give a bit of hope. It also shows the power of social media. Whether we love or hate Facebook, the social network plays a role in many of our lives. And when an issue is promoted on the site, it's hard to avoid it.
We now see the option to add an organ donor status when we edit our Timelines, we see our friends adding such statuses, and we see links encouraging us to officially register as a donor. Odds are that eventually we'll idly click on something, perhaps just to learn about organ donation. Perhaps that will lead to us deciding to become donors (if we aren't already) ... at which point we'd update our Facebook statuses and promote the issue all over again.
No comments yet.
Leave a comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Trackbacks are disabled.