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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Once you've connected two channels together and specified your trigger and response criteria it's called a recipe. Your recipes are automatically and regularly checked by IFTTT to see if the trigger criteria has been met, and if it has the response is then run. Hence the name: "If This Then That" - If the trigger does This Then the response does That. For example, you may have a recipe that shares articles you specify from your Google Reader account to your LinkedIn account, using a tag "Tolinkedin". So, IFTTT keeps an eye on your Google Reader account and whenever it sees you've added the tag specified above to an article it automatically posts it to your LinkedIn account with a link to the original article. IFTTT users can also share their recipes for other users to copy and make use of.

Here are a few more ideas about how IFTTT can be practically used in both a work and personal environment:

  • Archive mentions of your library service in a spreadsheet
  • Back up documents and photographs automatically
  • Tweet an alert about possible library closures if snow is forecast
  • Share bookmarked links to specified social networks (depending upon their focus)
  • Create a work or CPD log as a spreadsheet or text document from calendar events, blog updates and status updates from your social networks
  • Archive blog posts and status updates from a conference
  • Alert a colleague/yourself if a new file has been added to a shared project folder

These are just a few examples of how I have used IFTTT already. It has helped me reduce the time and effort I spend on collecting, sharing and backing up information in both a work and personal capacity. If anyone is interested in finding out more about the service and how it might help them, I would recommend taking a look at the shared recipes on this site.

Gary Green is the Technical Librarian at Surrey County Council Library Service.

Image courtesy of Jacqui1686 via Flickr.

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