I’m learning alot about social media lately. I’ve been thinking about how many people and organizations are “out there” promoting organ donation. In 2009, I did a review of Facebook pages on organ donation. I found more than 500 such pages with membership volume ranging from 4 members to more than 34,000 members. Some of these pages are clearly attempts by individuals to support loved ones in need of organ transplant. Others seek to increase organ donors. Generally, the pages do not benefit from scholarly behavioral research, that is, they do not address the determinants of organ donation behavior (for example, a response to the “ick factor” or medical mistrust by minorities). The pages have a wide variety of appeals and “branding”. While the vast majority of the pages are positive and supportive of organ donation, not all pages are supportive. One page is a flat out illustration of mistrust of the medical community.
In Open Leadership: How social technology can transform the way you you lead (2010), Charlene Li writes that as people become more adept at using social media (look at me) they will push you to be more open. One of the advantages of listening to people in the social media world is that you can dialogue with them. Instead of just pushing information out, you can engage – you can listen and talk and create understanding. I’m thinking it would be wonderful to do more than list the standard answers to all of the organ donation myths. Just google “organ donation myths” and see all of the sites that have Q&A, FAQ formats out there – pushing the answer instead of listening and engaging in two-way dialogue.
One of the most pervasive myths is “if I’m registered, they won’t try to save my life.” There is A LOT of dialogue that could be had here. I’ll likely write more on that one day.
The point is: social media can be a door to creating more and better conversation about organ donation. One of the first challenges in doing this is finding ways to connect all of the organ donation communities and dialogue that already exists.
P.S. I also found this fun site today: change.org – free online petitions for social change. And yes, there is a petition there to PLEDGE TO SAY YES TO ORGAN DONATION