Social media and direct/directed donor appeals, part 1

Mashable, one of the most popular sites on social media recently featured a video and a short article about how social media is being used to find organ donors.

For those of you unfamiliar with the terminology, it appears that the story is reporting on how social media is facilitating a directed donation. It doesn’t cover a wider appeal for the cause of donor registration or donation that is non directed, but rather a response toward helping a specific patient. Head here for one very extensive discussion of differences between directed and undirected donation, and living and deceased donation in the UK. As far as directed donor appeals via social media goes, the Mashable article closes with the questions:

Do you think this is a part of a bigger trend? Will more people find organs online in the future?

To start, my answer to these questions are yes and yes. They’re more rhetorical rather than hypothetical. It is undeniable how instrumental social media has become in organizing and spreading the word about patient searches for donors and impacts people’s awareness of the issues of transplantation. The ubiquity and growth  of social media almost dictates that the train isn’t stopping anytime soon.

While I think these are worthwhile questions, the usage of social media for direct appeals brings up a host of deeper queries. As a social media platform itself, TransplantInformers  was started in part because the work of donor outreach and education necessitated a space to share best practices and further leverage the power of social media to facilitate this work.

In my own fieldwork at transplant conferences and research meetings, I saw how differences and divides in social media literacy affected how people shared information, and what information was conveyed. And in fact, the relative novelty and burgeoning interest in social media in networks of international transplantation professionals, was part of what inspired this blog. I hope that what we do here at TransplantInformers is just one small step to getting up to speed.

Next week”s post will pose a  few more questions and issues that are worthy of further consideration with regard to social media and directed donation appeals.

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    1. […] Last Friday’s post introduced a brief video and article on Mashable about the growing use of social media to facilitate the search for a directed organ donation. As promised, here are some issues that the article prompted me to think about that I think deserve further discussion. […]

    2. […] who helped usher organ donor consent onto Facebook. We’ve had discussions here before about the uses of social media in donor recruitment. But Facebook took things to a whole new level when they announced their Life Event timeline would […]



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