Thursday, May 10, 2012

Facebook Goes Organ-ic

Oh, what an historic start to May 2012 this has been!

Not because it was my first sober Cinco de Mayo in memory. It's because last week, through the massive social media miracle of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and his dorky disciples in Silicon Valley made the world a better place by making it easier for millions of people to register as organ donors.

Can I get a big, resounding "YAY!" on this?

The news broke wide on May Day, prompting one of those "D-uh!" moments for most of us. Of course! How obvious! How did we not think of this ourselves? 

Facebook is the driving Internet power connecting countless masses of us on a daily (some would say a moment-by-moment) basis. Every day more than 18 people still die waiting for a matching donor organ that is never located. (Which, by my precise calculations, is exactly 18 people too many.) Maybe one reason more organs aren't available is that more people don't realize how dire the crisis is or how to register as a donor. 

Pairing the need with a vast network of potential givers. It's a match made in cyberspace heaven. 

Even though I registered as a donor years ago in my native Michigan, long before I ever dreamed I would actually need one of the little buggers myself, I registered again through Facebook for my current residence in Illinois primarily to see how simple the process was. And let me tell you, it is easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

Just go to your Facebook Timeline – I know you still don't like it but it's here to stay, so get over it – and under your disarmingly cute profile picture click on the words, "Life Event." That will take you to a drop-down menu of five items; slide down to the one reading "Health & Wellness," scroll over those words and the FIRST ITEM you should see at the top of the list to your right will read "Organ Donor."

Click on "Organ Donor," take about 33 seconds to register your intention to donate in your state of residence through Donate Life America, and your organs are officially up for grabs. It doesn't hurt. In fact, it may make you feel much better. 

You can proudly boast on your Facebook Timeline that you now are a registered organ donor (I did), or keep the information just between you and Donate Life America. The choice is yours.

Did Facebook do this to make itself look a little more human and humanitarian in advance of its humungous IPO this month? Did Zuckerberg's longtime girlfriend Priscilla Chan, a med student, apply gentle persuasion to get him to consider such a compassionate act?

You know what? To the next patient withering from organ failure and nearly out of hope who hears his or her doctor say, "We've found a matching donor for you" because of Facebook's remarkable reach, I don't think the motive will matter one teeny bit.