Advice from social media sometimes ain’t such a hot idea

Advice from social media sometimes ain’t such a hot idea. But how do we decide?

Maybe if you need a conspiracy theory to make your ideas stick, that should be a warning flag.

«“Things can get a little dicey,” said Kolina Koltai, a researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, who studies the social media behavior of alternative health communities. “Not to demonize all of the groups, but when women start diagnosing and crowdsourcing health-related issues, they can end up getting bad medical advice that can be pretty dangerous.

“We’re in this weird time, like a new digital Wild, Wild West,” Koltai said. 

Judith’s dependence on the internet and social media through pregnancy isn’t uncommon; pregnant women and mothers of young babies were among the earliest and most active internet adopters.

“First-time moms are experiencing a sense of loneliness and isolation and coping with a lack of experiential knowledge that they had a generation ago,” said Deborah Lupton, a digital sociologist and professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia. 

For Judith — newly married and living far from family and most of her friends — the online birth community stepped in to fill the gap. And she veered toward the wildest, the most radical content, seeking out those who would validate her choices. She blocked mainstream birth accounts on Instagram and Facebook and read only testimonials that promoted unassisted birth. Every day, she felt more radical and resolved to freebirth alone, “no matter what.”

“I think I brainwashed myself with the internet.”»

Also, I’d love to know what the racial breakdown is for women who have bad experiences in hospitals. I bet there’s a story there, too.

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