Facebook: taste maker, mould breaker, earth shaker in the health conversation?

Facebook added organ donor status to profiles in May 2012Facebook’s recent addition of an ‘Organ Donor‘ status to its ‘Life event’ user options demonstrated yet again the power of the world’s most popular social website and number two Internet destination to shape the conversation around health issues.

In the text accompanying the instructions concerning the addition of organ donor status to timelines, facebook explains:

More than 114,000 people in the United States, and millions more around the globe, are waiting for the heart, kidney or liver transplant 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. Medical experts believe that broader awareness about organ donation could go a long way toward solving this crisis.

With the addition of “organ donor” to the Life Events section of timeline, you can state your intention to become an organ donor, and share your story about when, where or why you decided to become a donor. If you are not officially registered as an organ donor, sign up with the appropriate registry.

At a stroke, facebook made issues around organ donorship highly visible to its 900 million active users.

Would it be a Utopian boon or dystopian curse to have all the health resources we needed in one place?

What if facebook was:

  • Where your electronic health record resided
  • Where you searched for high quality health information
  • Where your patient community convened
  • Where you were able to consult with your healthcare professional in private
  • Where you stored, quantified and analysed the personal health data streaming from your body

Taste maker, mould breaker and earth shaker though it may be, how culturally competent is facebook?

How do you feel about being invited to share your health history on one area of your timeline, and the location of your latest tattoo or piercing (because everyone has at least one of each, apparently ;)) in another?

The 'Travel & Experiences' area of the facebook timeline

2 thoughts on “Facebook: taste maker, mould breaker, earth shaker in the health conversation?

  1. Though it’s still not an option for those of us in Canada, I noticed today that organ donation has spiked already up here. http://www.globalnews.ca/feature/6442632897/story.html

    Stunning the amount of cultural relevance Facebook has attained at this point. An update to their platform and suddenly it’s entered the national conversation.
    Likewise, from San Jose, CA today. http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_20525720/facebook-organ-donor-registration-increease-donation


    Jason Boies
    Radian6 Community

  2. This is just wonderful. With the slightly narcissistic tendencies that Facebook tend to “afflict” people with, why not use this force to do good?
    I registered as an organ donor earlier this year here in California, so I obviously support the cause.

    That said, I wouldn’t be ready to share any other personal health information. That would be a dystopian curse.

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