Thursday, March 29, 2012
Trinity Trails in Fort Worth goes social with check-in spots
Runners, walkers, and cyclists can check in via Facebook or Foursquare.
With the recent warm temperatures, more people will be heading out to enjoy the Trinity Trails. Whether walking, running, or biking, now people can use social networking sites to check in with others online to tell about their progress.
The 26 check-in spots have extended throughout the Trinity Trails, according to the Streams and Valleys website. Check-in spots include trailheads, bridges, parks, and other locations along the more than 40 miles of trails in the city.
Nick Olivier, a TCU graduate student who created the check-in spots, said people might not realize how extensive the trials are.
“They might have just stumbled upon the Trinity River, saw that it goes left and right and just went for a little bit. But they don’t realize that it spans through the whole city of Fort Worth and that you can get many places from there,” Olivier said.
Olivier created the check-in spots as part of his master's project through the strategic communication division of the Schieffer School of Journalism and internship with Streams and Valleys, a non-profit organization which has overseen the preservation and public awareness of the Trinity Trails. People used websites such as Facebook and Foursquare to tell others online about their progress on the trails.
Although some might not like the idea of checking in online, others might enjoy using social networking sites to reach out to others.
“I know there are a lot of people out there that are attached to the hip with their phone,” he said. “They like to check in at places.”
Rachel Navejar started using Foursquare a year ago. She wrote in an email that her favorite parts of checking in are exploring new places and becoming a mayor, which was someone who checks in the most at one spot.
“As a self-proclaimed ‘social media nerd,’ I think checking in is a good way to expose others to new destinations along the Trinity they may not be aware of,” Navejar said.
Streams and Valleys Executive Director Adelaide Leavens felt the new check-in spots would help make the Trinity Trails better. For example, someone could use the check-in spots to track their mileage while they trained for a half-marathon. They could get support from family and friends, she said.
“It allows you to follow your friends during their miles on the river and might even guilt you into joining them,” Leavens said. “We all like to hear from our friends when they check in around town.”
Olivier has worked to advertise the new program through the organization’s newsletters and the website. He even made a check-in for Streams and Valleys events in October. He wanted to do the same for future organization events.
To further awareness, Streams and Valleys also planned to put trail markers at the check-in spots to let people know the check-in locations, he said.
“Streams and Valleys wants to promote the trails as the place to be when you're outside,” Leavens said.
Olivier thought checking in would continue to grow in popularity, but he did not know which sites would work best for the check-in spots, he said. That was the reason he used several social networking sites.
“If I had to guess I would say that it would be Foursquare, but it could be one that we don’t even know of yet,” he said.
But just because the check-in spots were up, Streams and Valleys wanted people to help improve the program, he said. Individuals could take pictures or add tips about the spots.
People could also personalize the websites when they check in, he said. And, of course, the check-in has trended on other social media sites.
“I’ve heard about Twitter that some people said it’s useless and the people at Twitter responded saying, well so is ice cream, but people seem to love that,” he said.
Locations of the check-in spots
Trailheads: Art Cowsen Trailhead, Oakmont Park Trailhead, Southwest Blvd. Trailhead, River Park Trailhead, Waggoner Trailhead, Eagles Landing Trailhead, Heritage Park Trailhead, White Settlement Trailhead, Meandering Road Trailhead, Buck Sansom Park Trailhead, Riverside Trailhead, Quanah Parker Park Trailhead, Cobb Park Trailhead
Attractions: Shannon’s Point, Clearfork Main Street Bridge, Forrest Park Miniature Railroad Depot, Mark Twain Statue, Phyllis Tilley Memorial Pedestrian Bridge, Farmers Branch Creek Waterfalls, Marion Sansom Park Mountain Bike Trail, LaGrave Field, Fort Worth Rowing Club
Parks: Foster Park, Kellis Park, Delga Park, Gateway Park
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