Gini Dietrich

Facebook Creates Organ Donor Update

By: Gini Dietrich | May 3, 2012 | 

I have to admit, Facebook is doing something I can really get behind.

They want to lower the number of people who die each year waiting for an organ donation.

What? Facebook, the social network? Yes, indeedy.

More than 114,000 people in the United States, and millions more around the globe, are waiting for a donated organ that will save their lives.

Many of those people – an average of 18 people per day – will die waiting, because there simply aren’t enough organ donors to meet the need.

And Facebook is set on lowering that number, if not eradicating it all together. They have nearly one billion users. Even if they got only 10 percent to add that they are an organ donor to their Timeline, you have 80 million people who are setting an example.

Of course, that doesn’t mean all 80 million will become organ donors today, but it does mean awareness is being created and, as we all know, peer pressure does some amazing things sometimes.

The experts say people so publicly declaring they are organ donors could spur others to sign up at motor vehicle departments or online registries. But, more importantly, this could  create an informal alternative to such registries that could lead to more organ donations.

That is because having it on your Facebook wall could provide the evidence of consent family members need when dealing with whether to donate the organs of a loved one.

The whole thing is a completely unselfish move – if something tragically happens to you, you make it easy on your family to make that decision and you save someone else’s life.

All you have to do is log into your Facebook account, click on your name, click on “life event” above your status bar, click on “health and wellness,” and you’ll find it in the first slot.

Seems to me like a no-brainer. I’m off to change my status to include the fact that I am an organ donor. Will you join me?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • I love this. And I know there will be haters. Too bad. I think we need to use social media for more stuff like this. Organ donors, missing persons, blood donors, marrow donors, etc.  This is all about giving people a better life. 

    • ginidietrich

       @KenMueller Oh there are already haters on my Facebook wall. I don’t get it. If you die unexpectedly, you don’t need your organs. You can’t take them with you. Why not save someone else’s life?

      •  @ginidietrich I’ve had a relative (to remain unnamed) who was anti organ donation and anti cremation. It bothered them and and they got all weird about it. Between vital organs, skin, corneas, etc…you can do so much good for multiple people. And that’s now. Just think how much more they’ll be able to do in 5 or 10 years.
        Besides, i don’t plan on dying for another 100 years.

        •  @ginidietrich oh my word, I just had a brilliant idea for a new business model. This might just change my post for tomorrow.

        • ginidietrich

           @KenMueller Oh jeez. I can’t wait to see this!

        •  @KenMueller  @ginidietrich Don’t you know if you have the organs of another person that you take on their personality?

        • ginidietrich

           @Anthony_Rodriguez  @KenMueller When Mr. D had his knee replaced with a cadaver knee a couple of years ago, I asked the doctor if the knee was Kenyan. When he asked why I wanted to know, I said, “That means he’ll be able to run super fast with his one leg!” The doctor was not amused, but I thought I was hilarious.

  • Done! I hope to see more of this type of thing. I believe we will.

    • ginidietrich

       @JoelFortner I think we will, too. And good for Facebook for taking it on!

  • This is a no-brainer to me. And social media’s influence on people is growing and growing. If Facebook can convince even one new person to register at their BMV to be an organ donor, it’s a win.

    • ginidietrich

       @Anthony_Rodriguez I think so, too!

  • JeffRice64

    @ginidietrich Organ donor. Don’t know how I feel about that. If I needed a new part, the idea would appeal, definitely. How about u?

    • ginidietrich

      @JeffRice64 I figure, if something happens to me, I don’t need my organs. May as well save a life.

      • JeffRice64

        @ginidietrich Makes good sense, that outlook helps.

  • I’ve been an organ donor from the day I got my driver’s license – so fifteen years now.  
    This is a pretty cool initiative and I vaguely remember an article from earlier in the week that said CA has already seen a sizable jump in organ donors since this rollout. 

    • ginidietrich

       @jasonkonopinski Add it to your Timeline! The thing I like about it is it’s another place doctors can quickly look to help the family make the decision. Especially if it’s not something you’ve talked with your family about.

  • Ha, it’s a trick. Now you will be publicly identified so the highest buyer can ‘shop’ for the best prospect. It gets a little shady after that, but that’s the premise……..
    I am an organ donor and have it duly marked on my driver’s license. I will take this step as well, as it’s a good thing to do.
    It’s incredible what they can do these days and it’s a shame people don’t take the time to give the gift of life. I know a guy who had a heart transplant and was out and about a week later. Shut the front door…………

    • ginidietrich

       @bdorman264 It’s duly marked on my license, too, but you never know. May as well give doctors a few places to confirm it. But also watch out for the black sedans tracking your every step. You know, just in case…

  • I am an organ donor, I haven’t been feeling this since they announced it.
    How long until advertisers want to target just organ donors? I can see certain non-profits drooling already for that option.
    Also, how legally binding is it? My account could be hacked and someone could make me an organ donor. My family members could make the change after I had an accident. Stranger things have happened.
    I think the spirit behind this is a good idea, but I think if we want to really make a difference, this needs to be a policy change that takes place in legislatures, not my Facebook timeline.

    • ginidietrich

       @JayDolan They said it’s not legally binding, but it gives the family an option to say, “Oh, we never talked about it, but I see it on their FB wall.” You still have to register through the DMV. While I agree this needs to be a policy change, this is very good for the idea. It will get more people to publicly state they’re donors, which will increase donations. Facebook is using their power for good. This is a good thing.

    •  @JayDolan At its core,  this  is an awareness campaign and a conversation starter.  

      •  @jasonkonopinski @ginidietrich @JayDolan anyone who wants my organs or blood good luck. Mine are very similar to Kieth Richards and Hunter S Thompson. They would be fun to have but maybe not life sustaining 8)

        •  @HowieSPM  @ginidietrich  @JayDolan My favorite HST quote –> “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” 

        •  @jasonkonopinski  @ginidietrich  @JayDolan ive been slacking lately though (weeps)

        •  @HowieSPM  @jasonkonopinski  @ginidietrich  @JayDolan By which you mean you haven’t been pumping enough animal tranquilizers through your system like Keith Moon?

  • AnthonyTrott

    I’m sure doctors and hospitals will be checking Facebook first for organ donations.

    • ginidietrich

       @AnthonyTrott They might not, but it certainly provides family members a place to look if faced with that difficult decision. Most people don’t talk about it. They may have it on their license, but that’s red tape galore. This just gives people a quick place to look. They’ll still have to confirm it, for legal reasons.

      •  @ginidietrich @AnthonyTrott but you need to die to be a donor. If you need a kidney usually they will start asking family members for match. Same with bone marrow. You can’t just take from anyone. So I can’t see searching Facebook. You need to know blood type and unless there is a menu saying what I am willing to part with it just doesn’t make sense to me.
        Plus how many people will not click they are…when they really aren’t just to look cool

      • @ginidietrich@AnthonyTrott
        but you need to die to be a donor. If you need a kidney usually they will start asking family members for match. Same with bone marrow. You can’t just take from anyone. So I can’t see searching Facebook. You need to know blood type and unless there is a menu saying what I am willing to part with it just doesn’t make sense to me.
        Plus how many people will click they are…when they really aren’t just to look cool

  • JeffRice64

    @ginidietrich Wow! I’ve had 2 RT’s on twitter n now a mention in a blog! I’ve hit the big time!

    • ginidietrich

      @JeffRice64 LOL!!

  • StaceyHood

    When I first heard about this, I immediately put it on my timeline. It’s a cause that I strongly support. A few friends got into a privacy discussion, umm, how? Here’s an idea; if you don’t like it, don’t do it. I believe it brings awareness and starts conversations as Jason said.

    •  @StaceyHood awesome Stacey I am coming for your liver and your kidney today! 😉

      •  @HowieSPM  @StaceyHood Dibs on his corneas! 

        • StaceyHood

           @jasonkonopinski  @HowieSPM Easy guys, there’s enough for everyone!

        •  @StaceyHood @jasonkonopinski @HowieSPM I see we got an organs bazaar going on in the comment section. @ginidietrich , I hope you are lawyered up- I am pretty sure a few Federal laws are being broken.

        • ginidietrich

           @bhas  @StaceyHood  @jasonkonopinski  @HowieSPM You should see my FB page…I’m pretty sure the Feds are going to come after me for offering my organs to certain friends.

    • FrankDickinson

       @StaceyHood I agree with you 100% Stacey – I read this and 2 mins later it was on my time line. Thanks @ginidietrich for bringing this to the light of day!

      •  @FrankDickinson  @StaceyHood  @ginidietrich Frank you are a softy. We need to put you through the Kim Il Jong School of Human Love and Compassion to toughen you up a bit. 8)

        • FrankDickinson

           @HowieSPM  @StaceyHood  @ginidietrich Now that’s funny Howie!

    • ginidietrich

       @StaceyHood A-freaking-men!

  • Uhm Gini per Mark Zuckerberg he wants every person not making $50k a year who can’t afford premium Facebook services to have their organs taken from them immediately and given to rich people so they can live and spend money in Farmville and on Facebook Commerce. Did you not read his press release?
    Not sure how this helps actually. I mean we sign up and only become donors if we meet an untimely end. This might get more people to sign up which is admirable but remember this is not a world wide program. Just a US program? I am pretty sure the second biggest group of members in Indonesia (seriously and I was shocked) and not sure they have a program.
    I just find it a bit weird. I am an organ donor but I am not adding it to my timeline. =P

    • jennwhinnem

       @HowieSPM I’m coming for your lungs, Howie.

      •  @jennwhinnem You can have them! For only a buck two fitty.

    • ginidietrich

       @HowieSPM The only reason you’re not adding it to your Timeline is because you don’t use Facebook.

  • I love love love this initiative. At the very least, it will raise awareness. At the very best, it will make donor wishes more well known and easier to achieve. I come from a family that has benefited directly from the incredible gift of donor organs. The more we can get behind this, the better, IMHO.

    • ginidietrich

       @jeanniecw I love it, too! And I especially like that, once you add it to your Timeline, it has the peer pressure effect of your friends thinking, “Oh! I should to that, too.” I love it.

  • jennwhinnem

    As someone who will need a set of new lungs someday, I appreciate the effort to get more people to consider donation.

    • ginidietrich

       @jennwhinnem You can have my lungs! Well, wait. Maybe just one. I can live without one, right??! 

      • jennwhinnem

         @ginidietrich I need both! Come on.

        • ginidietrich

           @jennwhinnem Well….I guess you’d better pray a) I get in a cycling accident and b) I’m a match. 

  • This clearly proves that a Zombie Apocalypse is destined to occur. Now the targets will be public… Zuck is going to start getting paid for each organ donated and who better to cover up the conspiracy than the walking dead? How is that unselfish?

    I will join you, Gini, but the only organ I’m willing to donate is my brain. That way, I’ll be no good for the Zombies!

    • ginidietrich

       @SociallyGenius I have a friend on FB who told me to watch out when I ride my bike outside. I guess I did just set myself up for the Zombies.

  • Petya

    This is a good way to use a social network with really a huge number of users for some good and meaningful cause! Unfortunately, I am not so sure how this option will be available in more countries. For example, I can’t access it here in Bulgaria. It will be good to hear other people from Europe whether they have it. 

    • ginidietrich

       @Petya I think it’s only available in the U.S. and the U.K. right now. But they’re looking at making it global. 

  • That is so funny. I never saw all those choices for Life Events! And I love that you can fib and do funny things with them! I am having so much fun with this!

    • ginidietrich

       @HowieSPM Ah man! @KenMueller and I were SO SURE what you’d comment. And you didn’t. Booooo!

  • I applaud Facebook for using their immense reach to propel such an important cause forward. This is obviously great for FB’s reputation as well, which I’m sure they’re highly aware of. I really hope to see other social networks follow suit and find their own ways to encourage people to pledge their support for relevant causes.

    • ginidietrich

       @prosper_pr I think it’s pretty great, too! Thanks for stopping by.

  • I’m in. And what’s even more awesome…this is what I heard reporter in the news today referring to yesterdays report on the amount of organ donors from Facebook –
    “By the end of the day, 6,000 people had enrolled through 22 state registries, according to Donate Life America, which promotes donations and is working with Facebook. On a normal day, those states together see less than 400 sign up.”
    It’s great to see them proactively using their reach for good. My friend’s cousin just received a heart transplant. She was born with an oversized heart and has been waiting for yearssss. She is now 20 and the doctors said she would need a new heart in a year for it to take and if she didn’t her life expectancy was only 22. So far she’s doing well. I hope even more people will be given the chance she has at life thanks to this initiative. 

    • ginidietrich

       @rachaelseda WOW! People can knock Facebook for this, but those numbers don’t lie. That’s amazing. 

  • Well, I guess Zuckerberg is not that concerned about people needing an organ donation, probably much more in cleaning a bit FB image. (Could this move have a positive influence on the IPO?) 
    Whatever the reasons behind though if this initiative can bring good to those in need of a transplant then it’s a good thing.

    • ginidietrich

       @Andrea H. | The Hypnotism Weekly Good point…and it’s a great way to keep the company in the news without violating their quiet period around the IPO. Groupon did the same thing last year, but their “news” was all about the bachelors who work on the executive team. I’d rather see this than that.

  • I would have put this on my timeline, only they don’t have this option in India. Also, when I called up the local eye bank to talk about donating my headlights, they hung up on me.
    Maybe it’s because my voice gave away my “useless without glasses” status?

    • ginidietrich

       @bhas HAHAHAHAHAHAH! LOL!! You always make me laugh. LOL!

  • Not me. As soon as you sign up you just know that you are going to wake up in a hotel room in Vegas lying in a bathtub filled with ice and a hole where your kidney used to be.
    Everyone knows that Zuckerberg took down Lord Voldemort, er Steve Jobs in similar fashion. Well, they would but they cremated his body so that they could hide the evidence.
    Just ask @HowieSPM and he’ll tell you that FB is up to something.

    • ginidietrich

       @TheJackB  OMG. Talk about conspiracy theory. LOL!!

  • ginidietrich

    @StudyBreaks_COL Seriously!

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  • geoffliving

    @db It’s a good program!

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  • ginidietrich

    @ericamallison Were your ears burning last night?