No longer will Facebook be only useful for sharing one’s inane thoughts with the world, as the social network is looking to connect the global community on a much deeper level by encouraging users to become organ donors. Yesterday morning on ABC’s Good Morning America Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced his latest initiative, which will allow users to easily register to become organ donors and encourage their friends to do the same.
“Starting today,” Zuckerberg said in a statement, “you can add that you’re an organ donor to your timeline, and share your story about when, where or why you decided to become a donor.”
The impetus behind Facebook’s organ donation initiative was provided, at least in part, by the passing of Steve Jobs, himself a recipient of a liver transplant. Now users who want to become an organ donor or who are already one can share their stories, telling the world why they made the choice. I have to say, for all the crap that’s been dumped on us by social networks, it truly is refreshing to see their powers used for good.
As it stands, Facebook’s new organ donor initiative will allow users in the U.S. and the U.K. to sign up on their local donation registries, streamlining a process that many have found in the past to be laborious and confusing, resulting in many just passing it by.
The reality is in this digital age that many people do want to do good for the world and their communities, but with the frenetic pace of life if the process to help others becomes overly burdensome such altruistic thoughts often fall by the wayside.
It was several years ago that I wrote a piece outlining the growth of charitable donation apps, a process that at the time was stymied by Apple’s developer agreement. As one director of a NPO that depends on charitable giving noted, “the more clicks you put between your donor and their donation to you, the less likely you are to get a donation,” and the same applies to organ donation.
While the service has yet to come to Canada, there are approximately 4500 Canadians on a waiting list for an organ transplant, hounded by the sad reality that in some provinces one person out of five waiting for a transplant will die before they receive one.
The truth of the matter is that while we often harp on tech behemoth’s like Facebook for their unwillingness or inability to effect global change, its only fair to recognize them for when they actually reach out beyond the revenue spreadsheets and the subscriber count and actually do something to improve the lives of millions of people. Facebook, in the words of Zuckerberg, is truly a powerful tool for communication and problem solving on a worldwide scale, and I truly hope that this organ donation feature is only the tip of the iceberg of global change.