Do you remember when you were a kid? That feeling you got when you walked into the candy store? Or the toy store?
I remember when I enlisted in the Marine Corps. I owned a 1994 Honda Accord. It was a great car. I knew it would be a couple of years before I would see it again so I sold it. I also sold my Takamine (it’s an acoustic guitar). It was beautiful. When I arrived at the language school in Monterey, CA, I had no car and no guitar. I did have a wad of cash, though.
My entire life I’d wanted a Taylor guitar (I have a 1959 Gibson J45 with a J200 neck now – awesome!). Like it was yesterday, I remember what it felt like to walk in that music store on Alvarado St. knowing that I was leaving with a Taylor.
I’m being a bit hyperbolic, but I am just about that excited with my new discovery. Let me introduce you to IFTTT!
The idea of this website is to allow users to create if-then automated tasks between multiple social media platforms. If This happens Then That happens. Got it? Let me give you a popular example:
- If Facebook profile picture changes, then update Twitter profile picture.
- If you are tagged in a photo on Facebook, then it will be sent to Dropbox
Can you see the possibilities? The Grovo Blog calls it “programming for dummies.”
- Channels – channels are the building blocks of IFTTT and are the social media platforms themselves – like Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, Evernote, Dropbox, etc. They currently support 53 “channels.”
- Triggers – triggers are the ‘This’ in the ‘If This Then That’ formula. It is what must happen first.
- Action – action is the ‘That’ in the ‘If This Then That’ formula. It is the effect in the cause and effect relationship.
- Recipe – the recipe is the connection that is made when you put the above together. Here is a screenshot from the IFTTT website.
How to Get Started
The user experience of IFTTT can’t be much better. It is clean and simple – super easy. Follow the steps below to get started. Then get to simplifying your lives!
- Create an account – Create a username, enter your email, then your password twice. About as easy as it gets.
- Link Your Channels – Frankly, I was really surprised at how easy this was. I use 22 of the 53 channels, and I had them all linked in under 5 minutes. The only one I had problems with was WordPress. You must enter your URL without “http://” or “www.” So for me, it was just “bobarron.com.”
Create RecipesUse Other People’s Recipes – OK – you can create your own, but why bother? According to IFTTT’s blog, over 1,000,000 recipes have been created as of April 30, 2012. There’s no telling how many there are now.
- Search for Your Favorite ‘Channels’ – Since IFTTT is a social site, you can see other people’s recipes. That is great, but with over a million, a search function is crucial. The search auto-populates and is super fast – like a Google search. As I love Evernote, I did a quick search to find that there are 3,999 recipes. Kid in a candy store!
A Few Notes
I want to highlight a couple other points. At the end of Sept ’12, Twitter shut down IFTTT’s ability to use Twitter as a trigger. Again, a trigger is the ‘if then’ part of the formula. Twitter can still be the ‘then that’ part. Essentially, you can not use IFTTT to auto-respond for you every time someone follows you or retweets you. As I don’t particularly like the canned thank you ‘DM’ (direct message), not a biggie for me.
I’m excited. I think there are some great efficiencies to be had here – especially with Evernote and Dropbox. I plan on exploring more of this in the coming weeks. I also think that as IFTTT gains a broader base of users, the recipes will expand as well. I easily see many posts in the future along the lines of “Best 10 IFTTT recipes for Evernote.”