IFTTT – I'm 'Putting the Internet to Work' and Loving it!
If you haven’t found or explored Ifttt (If This Then That) .com yet and you’re the kind of person who uses multiple Social Media sites and enjoys using tools like Evernote then you’re really missing out. This amazingly simple, and yet clever concept, (all the best ideas seem to be those things don’t they!) is helping me to get even more out of my PLN (Personal Learning Network) and keeping me a tiny bit more organised than I was before.
If This Then That (IFTTT.com) works on the basic premise that you can tell the internet what to do. For example, IF on Twitter (THIS) a new person follows me THEN Automatically tweet a thank you message (THAT) or IF someone mentions me on Twitter (using @teachertechnol in their message) (THIS), THEN automatically tweet a thank you message and remind them to come and visit me here on the blog (THAT). Or, and I pinched this idea from @louisaguest (thanks Louisa) IF I see a (THIS) tweet that has an interesting link on it that I’d like to get back to later and I choose to favourite it THEN send a copy of that tweet to a notebook in (THAT) my Evernote Account so that it’s instantly available on all my internet connected devices and I can access it when I’m ready.
In short, IFTTT helps me to keep on top of my ‘Twittequitte’ and helps me to store a heap of valuable resources that I can explore later when I have the time to do so properly.
How to use IFTTT.com
The first thing to do would be to head on over and get signed up. Once you’re in, you’ll be greeted by your very own IFTTT.com dashboard. From here you’ll need to familiarise yourself with three words:
- These are the things that you’re asking IFTTT.com to do on your behalf. Just like the one’s I’ve described above.
- These are task models that others have created that you can borrow. They are a great way to get started if you’re not sure how you might use the tool to begin with. I certainly spent a little time exploring what other people were doing before deciding where to start.
- These are the sites/networks/ tools that you can control and use in IFTTT.com. ‘Channels’ define Triggers and Actions, the basic building blocks for creating ifttt tasks. There are over 40 really familiar channels including:
Plenty to choose from there and you can get them to work for you automatically. For example, you might want to send a copy of your latest instagram to your dropbox every time you take a new picture or, you might like to tweet a link to your latest tune in sound cloud when you submit one. The possibilities are endless!
Set up a task
The first thing you’ll see is a big sentence asking you which channel will trigger your “This”. Click on the word “this” and you’ll be presented with a heap of channels to choose from. Select one of them. If you’re not already connected (by authorising IFTTT to use it) then you’ll need to follow the prompts to connect the network or tool to the site. In the image on the left, I’m activating the weather channel on my IFTTT account. Once that’s complete, I have to choose what will trigger the action I request. You can see me setting up my weather channel in that image on the left. All I had to do was select where I was in the world and add that to the IFTTT channel list.
Once I’d done that I then had to decide what the trigger for that channel would be. In this case, I choose to have the weather channel alert me when it’s raining. So, I selected the “current conditions change to” option and then told it what kind of change I wanted to be alerted to. There are lots of options here. You can be alerted when the temperature rises or falls above or below a certain temperature (nice science project there?), you can be alerted 15 mins before sunset or sunrise (to make sure you don’t miss the opportunity for a romantic walk and an awesome Instagram shot) or you can even ask it to warn you about high pollen counts and make sure you’ve taken your hay fever tablets before you leave for work.
Next, you chose an action channel. Which one of the web tools that you have access to will perform the action you request? In this case, I chose my Gmail account and asked it to send me an email to my Teacher Technologies email address when it started to rain. I named the task “Brolley Alert”
After checking over the settings I wanted the email to use (see image to the left), I was able to personalise the action even further and ensure that I am going to receive all the information I need when it’s time!
All that was left to do was to name my task and hit ‘create task’ to confirm my request. Unfortunately, even though the autumn weather here in Adelaide has been quite wet recently, it hasn’t rained since I created this task… so I can’t show you the outcome! However, I feel much happier that I won’t get caught in the rain without my brolley when it does 😉
Give it a go. Get your Social Media and Web 2.0 tools working harder for you. Share your recipes with us in the comments below. I’ve already learnt a lot by seeing what others have created so I’d love to see the spirit of sharing continue on this post 🙂