For most people Facebook is a place to keep in touch with their mates, share photos, join jokey groups and send stupid applications to each other.

However, today’s Facebooker is just as likely to join more civic-minded group, campaigning virtually for Darfur or Tibet.

And now an idea from a New York non-profit organization called Takes All Types means that Facebook really could save lives.

According to the New York Times, Facebook is about to confront users with a serious new question: What’s your blood type?

Takes All Types aims to better coordinate where and when people donate blood in response to shortages and crises while encouraging broader donation over all.

If you opt-in the system will send out alerts through Facebook - as well as by phone, fax, email and text message - when your blood type is needed in your area. It will also send out reminders for regular donations.

As Facebook now has more than 65 million users, the possibilities of revolutionizing blood donations is incredible – and there are implications too for bone marrow donations and promoting broader organ donations, as well.

As a regular blood donor myself (31 pints and counting), the only possible hiccup that I can foresee is the quality of blood. Take a look at many of the photos shared on the social networking site and you’d imagine that a lot of the potential donors have more than pure blood sloshing through their veins.

That said, this is a great idea and I look forward to seeing it adopted in the UK.