Functional Themes across Blogs, Wikis and Social Networking Sites relating to Pregnancy
The aim of this article is to explore the functional themes across blogs, wikis and social networking sites relating to pregnancy, through a thematic analysis of data contained within a selection of individual websites. A research question, which could be answered by this study is, “What information and applications are individuals sharing and accessing on pregnancy related websites?” A search was conducted on the Internet using Google to identify all related pregnancy related Web 2.0 applications on the Internet in Australia. They were analysed and grouped based on their content and functional themes. The thematic analysis revealed several recurrent themes, which were labelled ‘provision of personal opinion on health information (unreferenced)’, ‘sharing of pregnancy experience’, ‘news articles’ and ‘trading pregnancy items/gadgets’. The findings illustrated the usage of various Web 2.0 Internet applications in relation to obtaining and sharing pregnancy related information. Many of these aplications have not been certified by health care professionals. The study illustrated that health care consumers were taking it upon themselves to utilise these Internet applications and other publicly available application for health purposes. In most instances the researcher noted the intention of information and resources provision on these websites was not to educate but to sell or to convince the consumer to take a particular action that may or may not benefit their health circumstances. Understanding what type of tools and functions consumers are seeking online and how they are accessing them will enable health care providers to capitalise on these easy to use applications for patient education, health promotion and for changing policy to improve health care services.
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