Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Changing social norms -- Facebook and organ donors

On May 1, 2012, Facebook added an option for users to share their organ-donor status on their timelines. Nearly 60,000 users did so on the first day, a number that gradually tailed off over the following few weeks. Cameron and several colleagues at Johns Hopkins and other public-health institutions followed up with a study in which they examined donor-registration rates in 44 states in the weeks before and after May 1.
They found that 616 people nationwide registered as organ donors online on a typical day before Facebook rolled out the new feature. On May 1, that number spiked to 13,012—21 times the baseline rate. And while registrations declined in the following two weeks, they stayed above the baseline for the duration of the study period, with a two-week total of 39,818 new registrations. In the scrappy, grassroots realm of organ-donation drives, this was a game-changer.

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