Digital Path Wardens take to Facebook
Path Warden Geoff Settle has just started his annual audit of footpaths within the Parish of Poulton with Fearnhead. His duties, like those of other volunteer Parish Path Wardens are to send regular reports to the Rights of Way lead officer, John Thorp about the condition, accessibility and signage of footpaths across the Borough.
Building on his time as the first Digital Mayor of Warrington and Knowledge Management advisor for Vertex Data Science, Geoff has trialled social media to see what benefits it can bring.
He set up a new Facebook page called the Warrington Rights of Way Forum and posted photographs and comments about six definitive footpaths (i.e. the ones with green signs).
The trial went well and John said at last week’s quarterly meeting of the Rights of Way “This looks like it could be very useful. I could get on the Forum page you’ve set up to view the photos and comments. Thanks for those. I intend to be in the area soon so will walk the paths and consider your requests.”
The obvious benefit is that a picture is worth a thousand words said Geoff and I he found the current paper forms a bit cumbersome.
He continued “I used to deliver simple web sites using Microsoft SharePoint as part of a Knowledge Management Team for clients like United Utilities and Westminster County Council and I am applying the basic principles we developed.
The Facebook is a free resource that path wardens can use to share information, it is easily accessible, paperless and we can quickly alert John by sending a photograph or video of the issue.”
As Chair of Warrington Nature Conservation Forum, we have been using it as an effective tool for many years. We have also added a Twitter account to make the process even better. They are both proving to be very successful and effective tools that have broadened our area of influence and enhanced our ability to communicate with our partners, members and the public.
The only problem Geoff has experienced so far has been when he I decided to start getting fitter. He combined path audits with his passion for running. Unfortunately, two weeks ago, whilst running fast along a footpath he tripped over some concealed branches and fell head first.
He said, “As I flew through the air I knew that it was going to be painful but as I sat on the ground getting some wind back into my lungs I managed to take a selfie to view the damage to my head.”
He has of course posted the selfie on Facebook and recovery is progressing well but don’t make him laugh as his ribs are still a bit tender.
Everyone is encouraged to get out and use the footpaths and post any comments etc on the Facebook site. To access just enter Warrington Rights of Way Facebook into the Facebook search engine or use this link.
Geoff Settle 6/8/2017