Using IFTTT to connect and spread your message

Gary Green describes how a free web service can help you connect social media and other channels to save time and maximise impact.

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IFTTT (also known as "If This Then That") is a free web service accessible via www.ifttt.com. It allows users with an account to connect over 50 online and messaging services (channels) and automatically feed information and data between those channels. It can be an extremely useful tool for:

  • Drawing information together from a variety of resources
  • Sharing information across different networks
  • Managing information flows
  • Extending your reach and spreading your message
  • Backing up and archiving information and files
  • Creating timely alerts
  • Doing this all as quickly and easily as possible and in one place

Broadly speaking many of the channels can be broken down the following types (examples given):

  • Social networks (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn)
  • Bookmarking sites (Delicious, Pinboard)
  • Image sharing sites (Flickr, Instagram)
  • Blogging services (Blogger, Wordpress)
  • Video and audio sharing websites (Youtube, Vimeo, Soundcloud)
  • File storage services (Dropbox, Google Drive)
  • Document collaboration services (Google Drive, Evernote)
  • RSS feeds
  • Email and messaging services (Gmail, SMS)

IFTTT provides access to more unique services too, including date, time, weather, and stock alerts. A full list of channels can be found here.

To feed information and data between channels you connect them together, selecting one service as the trigger channel and another as the response channel. Some channels can either be used as a trigger or a response and some channels can only be used as a trigger or a response. In many cases you will be required to allow IFTTT access to your accounts on these other services e.g. Twitter; Facebook; LinkedIn. As well as specifying the channels to be connected you also specify the trigger and response criteria. Different channels use different criteria as triggers or responses.

For example, Facebook triggers include:

  • If you post a new status update.
  • If you post a new link.
  • If you upload a photo.
  • If anyone tags you in one of their photos.
  • If you change your profile information.

Facebook responses include:

  • Create a new status update.
  • Create a new link post.
  • Upload a photo from a specified URL.

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