With the addition of hashtags (#) to Facebook, users can search for information on specific topics like pregnancy. The popularity of social media as a sharing platform for medical advice has grown dramatically as tens of millions of people connect to each other, businesses and information portals, but not all information is accurate or trustworthy.
The Pregnancy Hashtag
A simple search of the pregnancy hashtag on Facebook returns a massive amount of results in chronological order. On the day I searched there were updates from interior design companies, bakeries and news portals announcing the impending birth of the Royal baby. Mixed in with this information were personal updates about leaking breast milk, fatigue and pain from Facebook users. Much of the information was anecdotal, but there were some good tips thrown in from time to time, including a bit of advice to drink more water during pregnancy for optimal hydration. After scrolling through pages of results I was unable to find a single update from a verifiable source of medical news or research.
The Fertility Hashtag
Hoping for a better result I searched for fertility news using the hashtag fertility. I had more luck with this hashtag than the pregnancy hashtag. The results included a medical news stories on the impact of the X chromosome on male fertility, but that single news story was the only verifiable, factual piece listed on the results. The remaining results were most often associated with fertility clinics or other medical professions using Facebook as a means of marketing.
Facebook is a fantastic means of sharing personal information, connecting with local business and finding current news stories, but using hashtags to find verifiable medical information about pregnancy and fertility will not necessarily connect the users with the information they are looking for.