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Facebook: Beyond Status Updates

July 13, 2010 by Guest Author  Email    Leave a Comment

Reprinted with permission from Dobies Healthcare Group. This post originally appeared here.

Despite having more than 400 million active users, Facebook still has its skeptics. Some common complaints include:

  • “It’s a waste of time!”
  • “Who needs an update on what I’m eating for lunch?”
  • “Why do I need to be a Fan of anything?”

Okay, sure. Status updates aren’t always riveting or note-worthy (see: “Dear Coffee, Marry me. Xoxo, Kelly”) and I’m not ashamed to say I “like” a Fan Page called “I Don’t Feel Like Folding My Laundry So I Just Restart The Dryer.”

But while I’m not alone in using the Status Update and Fan Page for innocuous fun, some people are using these basic Facebook features to help improve their health … and even save their own lives.

Like this guy, who decided to quit smoking and inadvertently created a support group among his Facebook friends simply by updating his status with the number of days he’d been smoke free.  As his friends followed his progress, they “liked” his status as the number of days increased and left comments of encouragement when his updates expressed wavering resolve.   Having a virtual audience to not only hold him accountable but also to offer him support no doubt helped contribute to his continued success.

Then there’s this woman, who is using Facebook to help her find a kidney donor.  Living in a state that ranks among the nation’s lowest in percentage of licensed drivers who are registered organ donors, she got creative and set up a Page called “Mel Needs a Kidney.” As of the end of May, she had heard from about 100 people who offered to get tested to see if they were a match.  In addition to increasing her chances of finding a donor, her efforts are also helping raise awareness of organ donation and registration in Michigan.

So while it’s true many Facebook users limit their activities to tending virtual farms or tagging friends in party photos, there are some who are using the platform to improve their lives.  And that’s something I’ll “like” any day.

Kelly Hemmingsen, a Dobies Healthcare Group account coordinator, specializes in copywriting and editing, market research, project coordination and public relations services. She also runs support for their interactive team, specializing in social media, search engine marketing, e-PR, and Web content and development.

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