“If This, Then That”
I don’t know exactly how old this service is, but there is a PC Mag review of it from March 2016 – which means it’s been around at least two years. That’s two years longer than the amount of time it should have taken me to hear about it!
Well, I’m certainly making up for lost time, and so should you.
IFTTT stands for “IF This, Then That”. It’s basically a magical piece of wizardry that connects YOUR ENTIRE DIGITAL WORLD together.
I discovered IFTTT while researching how to get my blog posts to automatically post to Facebook. It’s a simple enough thing but can save a lot of time in the long run – especially if you’re scheduling ‘out-of-hours’ posts on WordPress.
Well, what I discovered was far more than simply automating Facebook shares. Within a few minutes, I had managed to automate all my Social Media sharing tasks: Twitter, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, Pintrest, Youtube. One simple click of Publish on WordPress and my new post is shared everywhere.
Even if you don’t have a blog, this can be useful while travelling. It means less time spent updating social media and more time actually talking to REAL people.
The only thing missing is Instagram. I was really hoping they had a function to auto-post to a new Instagram story using an image and title text from WordPress – but that’s probably asking a bit much. You can, however, automate Instagram photos and stories to post to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc.
That’s Not All Folks
Yes, IFTTT can do so much more! In fact, it’s functionality seems endless. Once you start going down the rabbit hole you realise just how interconnected everything is.
It’s a little scary. There appear to be apps written for almost any task related to the internet – online services, apps, websites, mobile phones – you name it.
Look at these for example:
There is also functionality to connect to Google docs and do some very useful admin tasks, like populate spreadsheets and calendar entries. If you want to really get nerdy, it even has MySQL functionality to automate database maintenance. That’s where I checked out and went back to the twitter stuff.
So that’s all great though, but do you wanna really BLOW YOUR MIND? Check this one:
Yes, you read correctly. If you have smart Philips Hue lightbulbs (lightbulbs that connect to your wifi) then you can set them to turn purple when the International Space Station passes over your house. There is literally ZERO practical functionality to this applet, but it’s by far the coolest one I found. Why are you even still reading this and not on their website!?
Fast and Free
It’s completely free to sign up and to activate applets takes one or two clicks but there is some limitation to how customizable it is. It also includes a ‘Published by IFTTT’ tag on any post, so depending on how anal you are about maintaining a feeling of ownership to your posts, that might be a problem.
It isn’t 100% perfect of course, and I’ll admit while clicking through and adding applet after applet, I did expect some things not to work. From what I gather, it works with your browser’s cookies or cached passwords. It’s also open-source and users create and upload their own applets, so understandably there is room for error.
The below failure could simply be because I wasn’t logged into Pinterest at the time:
Brave New World
At the end of the day, it’s not going to make you rich or change your life overnight. But it’s one of those services that once you start using it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
If for nothing else, it’s astounding to browse through it and realise just how insanely connected our world has become. Whether or not that’s a good thing, I guess we’ll live to find out…
..or will we!