I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the public’s perception of technology. In many ways, I think that we still tend to see technology as antagonistic. In sci-fi movies, technology is often corruptive and sadistic. In real life, It’s the thing that keeps children from their homework and breaks up relationships.
That’s why the new Facebook campaign to support organ donations really caught my eye. Earlier this month, Mark Zuckerburg and Co. announced a new initiative which allows users to indicate whether they are organ donors on their timeline. If you’re not familiar with the timeline feature on Facebook, it’s basically a newspaper-style spread of all of your recent activity, including photos, videos, links and status updates.
It’s also been heavily criticized by some users for making private details too public. I’ll admit that it’s important to be smart when broadcasting your public details on the web. Teaching children how to use social media safely is a huge concern for parents these days. I don’t have children myself, but when I do, I’ll be sure to make it a priority.
But in spite of the privacy issue, it’s so hard to ignore the positive impact which technology like Facebook can have on the world. I was recently captivated by the story of Hélène Campbell, a young Canadian woman who received a double lung transplant in April. Before her surgery, she courageously shared her story on A Lung Story and Twitter in order to raise awareness about organ donation. Her campaign has been tremendously successful, and she even caught the attention of Justin Bieber and Ellen DeGeneres. She is living proof of the positive impact of technology, and the potential it has to change our lives.
So Kudos to Facebook for following in her footsteps. I look forward to more technology-driven campaigns which help increase public awareness on important social issues.