Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Dear Facebook, nice try, but you're not going to save the world. Sorry.

Today Facebook announced that you can enter your desire to be an organ donor as a "life event" in your timeline. After taunting that they were introducing a "life saving" feature, I was a little disappointed with today's revelation.

This is all well and good for promotional value. If even one self-absorbed airhead decides they want to be an organ donor because of Facebook, then that's one more chance at life for several people if said airhead ends up in the position to be donating organs, which is fabulous. Believe me, as someone who works in healthcare, I kind of have to applaud this measure. However, I hope the attention that this brings to organ donation actually spurs people to discuss their choice with relatives who would be in the position of relaying their wishes to the doctors if the situation arises. I'm pretty sure that it won't become acceptable medical practice to consult one's Facebook page to ascertain whether or not they want to donate organs if that time comes. It's pretty useless for someone to decide to donate their organs and then to keep the information to themselves. Facebook will allow you to hide the event from your timeline, which renders the benefit of doing this pretty useless.

If Facebook thinks they can revolutionize organ donor status, they're wrong. Merely posting one's wishes won't do a damn thing. Yeah, you can go into detail about how and why you decided to become a donor, but really? How much crap do you ignore in your newsfeed? I don't know about you, but I've hidden a lot of people. I can't deal with their incessant whining of "woe is me" or bragging that their life is just so friggin picture perfect - but I feel obligated to keep them around for appearances' sake and to avoid hurt feelings.

My point is, this new thing will only be effective if people are inspired to have this discussion with the people who matter - not the 500 people you kinda sorta know online. If Facebook thinks they're going to make a measurable difference by making this a "life event", then they're sorely mistaken. If only they could figure out a way to make the conversation happen - offline...then they would be onto something.

That said, I do think it's nice that Mark Zuckerberg is inspired to do this because he was friends with Steve Jobs - who, in case you didn't know, was the recipient of a liver transplant, which ended up prolonging his life.

Here's video of a Good Morning America segment where he discusses this new feature.

What do you think about this? Do you think it will help or make absolutely no difference at all? Have you decided to become an organ donor because of Facebook?


  1. I thought you couldn't donate organs unless it was indicated on your ID or license. I can't wait to renew mine because when I got it, I couldn't legally be an organ donor.

    Who knows, maybe this will encourage people to become organ donors for real.

    1. Me either, for the same reason!

      I hope it does. It seems like they just let you share it as a milestone that you decided to be one...but still.


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