Facebook: Are you an organ donor?

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Did Facebook ever ask you if you were registered as an Organ Donor? If it didn’t, check back after reading this; a message to that effect may be waiting for you to login.

May, 2012, Facebook announced that users could publicly announce whether they were registered as organ donors on their Facebook Timelines. When they changed their status to “organ donor,” their friends were notified, which incentivized many of those buddies to sign up, also.

The American Journal of Transplantation published a study showing that social media is not only a valid path to boosting awareness, but also that the numbers of people who can be reached via Facebook, are significant.

Before this feature was launched, approximately 616 people nationwide registered to be organ donors, on a typical day. However, on May 1, 2012, more than 13,000 people signed up. And while the numbers of volunteer registrants did trail off after the initial spike, a study conducted by Andrew Cameron and colleagues at Johns Hopkins underscored that getting people to register as organ donors can be greatly facilitated by the glue of social sharing. In other words, learning that your friend has registered and connecting that message to an automated widget that sends you to the proper signup page for registering in your own home state, can dramatically boost the nation’s organ supply.

While over 100,000 people are waiting for donated organs, a Gallup poll has shown  that there is a disconnect between attitude and action. 95% of people who were polled said they were philosophically in favor of donating organs, but only 45 percent of respondents had concretely taken the necessary action to sign up.

If you are not registered as an organ donor and would like to do so and to share your status on Facebook, login into your account, go to https://www.facebook.com/help/416967021677693/, and follow the appropriate prompt.