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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Gifting Good Genes On Facebook

An Alberta non-profit organization, Genome Alberta, is hoping to raise awareness by creating a new Facebook application that allows users to gift genes! Have you ever thought that your friend would prefer blue eyes or that they would rather be a red head? According to this CBC article, "Genome Alberta is marking the 55th anniversary of the day scientists James Watson and Francis Crick identified the double helix as the structure for the human genetic blueprint." The group spent about $15,000 dollars on the development of the application and hopes to attract 30,000 followers. "You can raise awareness really, really effectively and have a really viral campaign because people want to spread the word on that kind of stuff," says David Cree, an online marketing consultant. I'm not one of those Facebook users who gets caught up in this kind of application, I personally find them a little silly, but I'm sure the money was better spent here than on paper flyers that would have only local reach and $15k doesn't buy much television coverage...

1 comment:

Mike said...

If the truth be told I'm not exactly someone who uses many applications on Facebook either. However when the idea to do something like this came up(yes indeed I'm with Genome Alberta)I gave it a lot of thought.
You're dead that $15,000 on print ads or brochures would not go far, so how do you reach a certain demographic, help them learn something, and raise awareness of one of the biggest advances in medicine and bilogy that we've seen for some time? Facebook is definitely a good start.
Each virtual 'gene gift' comes with some information about the gene, information about Genome Alberta, a news text block we're changing regularly, and links back to our web site. I'f you're not into Facebook you can find the content plus additional links at - you just won't be able to give them away.
We're also doing a 'consumer guide to personal genome services' as part of our Mikenomics blog which provides more information still.
If you get a chance, try checking it out. We've tried hard to provide something fun, accessible AND educational.

Mike Spear
Genome Alberta