Four Ways the Nerdy Yet Useful "If This Then That" Web site Will Help Organize Your Online Life
I recently stumbled onto the brilliant website If This Then That or ifttt.com. IFTTT is a website that brings together a range of different online services and makes them play nice together. And what makes IFTTT so unique is that it takes something extremely nerdy at its core -- if/then statements that drive a lot of programming code -- and makes it very easy to use and understand.
A handful of the IFTTT "channels" available for subscription
IFTTT lets you connect to a huge range of websites and communication devices like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Dropbox, email and cellphones. They refer to these as "channels" and there are dozens of them. Channels may also include RSS feeds, clocks and calendars. Once you have connected to any device or network that requires a password, you can set up "tasks" using their if-this-then-that system. For example, if you take a picture with Instagram (the "if-this" part), then your photo is also stored to your Dropbox account automatically (the "then that" part).
IFTTT's interface is disarmingly simple and there are literally hundreds of pre-programmed tasks created by other users IFTTT refers to as "recipes." You can create your own or simply use one that has already been created. After sifting through a bunch of these and even adding a few for my own use, I realized there are four great ways right now that IFTTT can organize my life.
As the site grows, adds more channels and provides extended support for things like multiple accounts on a single platform -- think multiple pages on Facebook or several Twitter accounts -- I could see this being an invaluable resource for streamlining an increasingly hectic online world.
4. Mass Communication
Sharing communication of any kind across platforms is easy
Many people have accounts on several different social media sites. There are tools for helping you post to Facebook if you post on Twitter or vice versa, but what if all you had to do was post one place and it was broadcast to all your accounts at once? By setting up a couple tasks in IFTTT, you can make it so a post in one location broadcasts to multiple places at once.
There is still limited support for Google+, but Facebook (including fan pages), YouTube, Twitter, Foursquare and others are fully functional. There are services that provide all sorts of shortcuts for these types of things, but most of them work on one service at a time. With IFTTT, all those options are in one location that is really easy to manage.
3. Reminders & Notifications
Weather updates set to your specs via text message.
There are lots of notification services available, but most of them do one thing or focus on one service. With IFTTT, you can be notified of virtually anything via email, a text message or even a phone call. Get a wake-up call through your own phone. Have movies and TV premier dates from an RSS feed automatically posted to your Google calendar. Get a text when it's about to rain. There are even tasks that let you send a text message that triggers a "fake" phone call to get you out of an awkward situation, which could be really handy. I'm just saying.