The power of the social media
Huge news from Facebook beyond its impending initial public offering of stock that could drive the social network's value over the $100 billion mark: a new meaning to sharing.
Early this month Facebook invited its users to register as organ donors. Just two days later, more than 100,000 people had stated their desire to be organ donors when they die.
The response demonstrates the power of social media. As more and more Facebook users announced to their online "friends" their intention to be organ donors, the rate of registration increased even further.
Donate Life America, an organ donation advocacy group, issued a statement that the Facebook effort had, by far, surpassed any previous organ donation initiative. Within hours of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's announcement of the sign-up, more than 6,000 people had signed up through 22 regional registries. The average, according to Donate Life America, is about 400 per day.
Nationwide, about 114,000 people await an organ transplant, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which coordinates donations. About 43 percent of American adults have indicated a preference to be organ donors, mostly in through their driver's license renewals.
The number of actual donors turns out to be a fraction of that, however, often because of problems matching available organs to patients in need, but also because family members often don't know of a deceased would-be donor's intentions.
Under the Facebook initiative, prospective donors widely share their intentions, making an ultimate donation more likely.
The effort, said to be the creation of Mr. Zuckenberg himself, ultimately could prove far more important than the impending IPO. Organ donation advocates would be wise to try to extend the efforts through other forms of social media.