Using IFTTT to Put the Internet to Work for You

Using IFTTT to Put the Internet to Work for You

“If This, Then That.”

Never has a simple statement been so easy for anyone to use to create custom connections to simplify their digital life. IFTTT (pronounced like “LIFT” without the “L”) is a free web services that connects to your various social networks, news reader services, RSS feeds, photo sharing apps, email, and more, and allows you to create simple statements (based on Triggers and Actions) to execute tasks behind the scenes.

IFTTT triggers can integrate with any of 50 Channels, including Facebook, Facebook Pages, Twitter, Dropbox, Pocket, Email, SMS, RSS, Instagram, and many others.  IFTTT comes loaded with triggers, such as events like “when I post a photo to Instagram”, “when I mark a tweet as a favorite”, or “when I change Facebook my profile picture” that can be set up to send actions into motion.

The actions also integrate with the same 50 Channels, and allow for automated tasks to take place. The actions can include things like “save the image to Dropbox”, “Save the link to Pocket”, or “Update my Twitter profile picture” (based on the triggers above). While some recipes may seem simple or trivial, the creativity and potential complexity can really make IFTTT a great tool for cross-network continuity.  Bloggers, marketers, and social networking obsessives may find some cool offerings in the growing library of recipes.

Let’s take a look at a few examples (click the image to try the recipe):

Let’s say you’re a big Olympics fan, and you want to tweet every time your country wins a Gold Medal. You COULD check ESPN or NBC obsessively for the next 2 weeks, pop open your twitter.com or your twitter client of choice, and post an update bragging about your countries standing in the medal count. A quick IFTTT recipe allows you to connect ESPN’s Medal Tracker to your Twitter account (thanks to @Jim_Gresham for this one).

Here’s another:

I love checking out some of the awesome vintage-y photos on Instagram, and frequently find myself liking new and unusual imagery. When I like pictures on Instagram, though, I rarely go back and look at them again. Now, I can create a simple IFTTT recipe that takes images I favorite on Instagram and saves a copy of them to my Dropbox (they make a great screensaver).

One More:

I love knowing the weather in the morning before I get ready for work and head out the door, but seeking out the daily forecast can slow me down on a late start. With IFTTT’s ability to use weather.com forecasts and incorporate SMS actions, I can now receive a text, telling me a forecast every morning.

The possibilities are huge with IFTTT, and their library of channels and capabilities will continue to grow as the service gains popularity. Now, everyone can be a programmer in a easy, visual way. Do you see yourself using IFTTT to simplify your life? Have a recipe you’ve cooked up on IFTTT that you love? Share it in the comments below!

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