Monthly Archives: April 2012

Stuff I Use: ifttt

A couple of months ago I posted about If This Then That, an interesting webapp that allows you to tie actions and content on various web sites together. I’ve been using ifttt a lot since then and thought I’d write more about it.

Some websites allow you to send notifications to Twitter or Facebook when you do something, but this kind of support is not universal and isn’t always very configurable. Ifttt takes this a step further, not only being more configurable but including the ability to send content, like photos, along with the notifications.

A good example of this is how it works with Instagram. When I post a picture to Instagram, a link gets sent to my Twitter and Facebook accounts by Instagram. But I also send the photo itself to Flickr, using ifttt, so that others who aren’t on Instagram can see it.

The way ifttt works with web sites is called Channels. Channels can either be a source or a destination. An event on a Channel that causes ifttt to do something is called a Trigger. Combining a Trigger with Channels is called a Task. You can have multiple Tasks on the same Channel. To help you get started, ifttt has a bunch of predefined Tasks, called Recipes, that you can just include and use right away. My Instagram-Flickr interaction was such a Recipe, all I had to do was include it in my Tasks.

Triggers are site-dependent as is how much configuration you can do. For the Instagram Channel, you have a choice of four Triggers: when you post a photo, when you post with a specific tag, when you like a photo, and when anyone else posts a photo with a specific tag. All of these then allow you to interact with any of your Channels. Since Instagram already allows you to post to Twitter and Facebook I use ifttt to send a copy of the photo to my Flickr account.

The ifttt folks are constantly adding Channels and Triggers. Most Recipes are user-generated, and you can add your own if you’d like. It’s worth checking them frequently for cool additions you can use. You don’t have to be programmer to write a Task and it’s difficult to make mistakes if you do.

If you’re on more than one social site or need to unify your message across multiple outlets, ifttt is a great way to tie everything together.