What if I told you there’s an app that could take care of some routine tasks for you automatically without you needing to think about? Think of like the little virtual assistant in your pocket that you never had.
If This Then That (fka IFTTT, now rebranded as IF on their mobile app logo) does that for you.
You might remember me mentioning it when talking about 12 tools to better manage your professional network (click here for the free cheatsheet).
The app is free and has many practical uses, so many I’m not going to attempt to cover them all. What I am going to do is tell you how IFTTT works, how I use it, and then leave it to you to let your imagination run wild with ideas to put the internet to work for you.
How IFTTT Works
IFTTT interfaces with 168 Channels to create a Recipe that uses logic to determine when to run.
Channels are other popular websites (e.g. New York Times, Facebook, Twitter) or applications (e.g. Dropbox).
An IFTTT Recipe is a rule you put in place defining a trigger Channel, a trigger, action Channel, and an action. Depending on the Channels you choose, you may need to fill in additional information. For example, if you choose Linkedin as the action Channel with the action being to share a status update, you have the option to choose whether or not to include a picture with your update.
Another great use I’ve seen is for people who take their weddings social on Instagram. You create a Recipe that says save any Instagram photo with a specific hashtag to a designated Dropbox folder. And just like that you have an album capturing your wedding through the eyes of your guests.
How I use IFTTT
Here are some of my favorite IFTTT recipes you might find useful.
1. I know more than a few people who feel most comfortable managing life via spreadsheet. If that’s you, this recipe takes every new Linkedin connection and adds to a Google Spreadsheet.
2. Losing your contact list happens less often now with the reach of iCloud and Google contacts for people to manage the lists of everyone they know. But if you’re like me you don’t mind having just one more backup. You can’t put a price on your network so why risk it?
3. For the Twitter users out there, you might remember when Twitter stopped letting outside applications post native photos. That’s the reason when people post from Instagram on Twitter you have to click a link to see the photo. Same for people sharing their blog posts or any other type of RSS feed on Twitter.
I could go on, but that should be enough to get you started. Give it a try, and let me know your favorite Recipe.