Gini Dietrich

If This, Then That (IFTTT) Lets You Automate the Internet

By: Gini Dietrich | September 27, 2012 | 

Alright. We’re going to let our nerds flag fly today.

Yesterday, when I wrote about IFTTT and how Twitter is locking them out of their API, lots of you said, “What the heck is this tool?”

I was super excited to hear this because I thought I was behind the eight ball on it and couldn’t talk about it.

But you did not disappoint and now I get to show you this waaaaaaay cool tool!

What is IFTTT?

IFTTT stands for “if this, then that.” It allows you to create, what they call, recipes to “put the Internet to work for you.”

If you use different social networks, RSS readers, writing tools, or the cloud, IFTTT allows you to automate some of the things that make you more efficient.

For instance, I live in the Windy City. It’s pretty important I know how hard the wind is blowing before I go out for a bike ride. If it’s more than 30 miles an hour, I know I’m going to either get knocked off my bike (which will hurt) or I will be riding into a headwind and it will be like climbing up to the top of Pike’s Peak.

So I have a recipe that texts me when the wind is blowing more than 20 mph and it also tells me from which direction. This morning, I received a text that said, “The wind blows! 24 mph from the Northeast!”

Barrett Rossie commented yesterday that he has a recipe set up to alert him when someone new follows him on Twitter, but not just that…it also puts them in a list so he can check them out.

Create Recipes

There are endless recipes you can create and you don’t have to be a social media geek to use it. For instance, Mr. D (who is a technology Luddite and the bane of my existence) has a recipe to tell him the ratings of the weekend’s released movies.

Other recipes you can create:

  • When Netflix releases its new movies and shows each week, you can have it email you, text you, or save to the cloud
  • When a celebrity posts a new picture on Instagram, you can be alerted immediately
  • If you favorite a tweet or a blog post or article, it can be pushed to Evernote, Dropbox, or Pocket (formerly known as Read it Later)
  • Every time you change or add photos to Facebook, it will automatically save to a Dropbox folder for you so you have an archive of them
  • Same thing with your Instagram photos
  • If you want to know if it’s going to rain or snow, have a text sent to you
  • If you like a particular magazine (Wired, for instance), you can have the photos from their Instagram feed sent directly to you
  • When Spotify releases new albums, you can have it email you
  • Using WeMo, you can email to let it know when it should turn on or off lights at home

Get it Today!

As you can see, this isn’t just for the super, uber nerds like me (or, as Howie Goldfarb calls me, a “closet techie”).

Right now it has nine active channels with nearly 300 different recipe combinations. As the site grows, it has the opportunity to add another 46 channels, opening the recipes to thousands of cool things you can do.

But I must warn you: Block out at least 30 minutes to get on there. You’ll be sucked in. Quickly.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

Spin Sucks in Your Inbox

90 responses to “If This, Then That (IFTTT) Lets You Automate the Internet”

  1. knealemann says:

    @ginidietrich @IFTTT – All signed up. Now to dig around.

  2. One of mine: I get emails whenever there’s a free MP3 album available on Amazon. 

  3. redcrew says:

    @ginidietrich One of my favorite apps. Just wish @Twitter hadn’t cut off @ifttt’s ability to backup tweets.

  4. Helpdesk_info says:

    @msjconnolly are you just learning about IFTTT? I tested it..not for social..but good for other things

  5. belllindsay says:

    This does sound very cool. Though I’m not sure I could *ever* be that organized. 

    • ginidietrich says:

       @belllindsay It’s not really about organization. That’s what I thought at first, too. But then I got in there and realized you don’t have to be organized at all. You can totally let it do things for you that you’d have to get yourself organized to do manually. I mean, come on. If you can email your WeMo and tell it to turn off a light when you’re not at home, don’t you think that’s pretty cool?

  6. I had IFTTT bookmarked after yesterday. Now, I’m sold. I’m all for automating everything that doesn’t require a human touch!

  7. magriebler says:

    Well, isn’t this just like Christmas: a new toy to play with! (Well, new to me.) Can’t wait to set it up. Thanks for the tip!

    • TaraGeissinger says:

       @magriebler I was thinking the same thing! 🙂 Yay! I apparently live under a large rock because this is all new to me. Can’t wait to dig in, but must get work done first.

      • yvettepistorio says:

         @TaraGeissinger  @magriebler I’ve also been living under a large rock and @ginidietrich even mentioned it to me! But must get work done so saving it for the weekend!

        • HowieG says:

           @yvettepistorio  @TaraGeissinger  @magriebler  @ginidietrich Hey Yvette anytime you need to take off an hour or two from work to try out new tech stuff yet still be paid for that time…just ask. I have the approval stamp here in my office.

        • magriebler says:

           @yvettepistorio  @TaraGeissinger  @ginidietrich This rock we’re all living under is just HUGE. It also explains why I never get a tan.

        • ginidietrich says:

           @yvettepistorio  Anyone else notice my team commenting they have work to do before they play? I’m so proud! (don’t say they’re brown nosing!)

    • ginidietrich says:

       @magriebler It’s Christmas in September! I almost feel like I did when I discovered Pinterest.

  8. GrizzardComm says:

    Oh, how I love @Ifttt. RT @ginidietrich Don’t know IFTTT? It’s not just for the social media nerds. Check it out!

  9. FeliciaCago says:

    @ginidietrich Too many ppl use it just for auto-DMs. Ugh.

  10. Yes, thank you for finally explaining this! I kid you not, I had seen IFTTT mentioned a few times in conjunction with recipes and I was almost convinced it had to do with cooking! I knew I’d get smarter from reading this blog! (ps – I removed two instances of “that” in this comment #winning)

  11. Old_Jrice says:

    @ginidietrich Kinda interesting 2 know!

  12. HowieG says:

    A Youtube video of you riding in 30mph winds with one of those tall orange safety flags on the back of your bike would go viral for sure. I just set up a recipe to alert me for your video!

  13. EleanorPie says:

    This looks amazing. Sounds like cost could be involved though? Or is it free? If someone tells me the F word is involved, I nay have to figure it out ….

  14. I’ve known about IFTTT for a while now but have never used it. What I didn’t know is that you could use it for so many things. You may have just pushed me over the edge to using it. 🙂

  15. Lisa Gerber says:

    It didn’t occur to me to create a powder alert for when it snows. I wonder if I can have it automatically check my calendar and move appointments that morning! Now THAT would be genius. 

  16. polleydan says:

    Love IFTTT. Some of my favs: Posting my new Storifys or WordPress blog posts to Buffer, creating a Twitter list of hashtag participants, adding photos to Flickr if uploaded on Facebook page.

  17. Love me some IFTTT.. I’ve created a few different recipes that have been SUPER helpful in keeping me on top of things. It’s grown so much over the past year or so with the things that you can do with it and the possibility of recipes is seemingly endless. Now if I could only get it to work on my house.. 

  18. trontastic says:

    Damn you for giving me another toy to play with. There goes my day.

  19. neicolec says:

    IFTTT? Hey, what did you call me, @ginidietrich?!

  20. Carmelo says:

    Sigh. I have nothing to add.

  21. bdorman264 says:

    Very geeky indeed, but in a cool way, huh? 

  22. MSchechter says:

    You wont hit rock bottom until you start using Brett Terpstra’s Slogger to archive all everything into Day One. That’s when you KNOW you’ve gone off the techie deep end 🙂

  23. kateupdates says:

    I’m going to be experimenting with this tonight. I started researching it after reading your post about Twitter limiting developers. Must play with this and make it work for me. Thanks for the 411, Gini!

  24. wagnerwrites says:

    @Incandescere Always glad to help. 🙂

  25. JonFMoss says:

    @neicolec @ginidietrich @Soulati except twitter

  26. Shaunsational says:

    You wouldn’t happen to know the recipe for the new movies works would you? 😉

  27. Oooh, oooh…. Not when someone follows me, that NEVER happens! It’s when someone MENTIONS me, which they do constantly, just to mock me! 
    Thanks for this info @ginidietrich . I knew this thing was addictive after a minute. So (sorry I haven’t read through all the comments…) does anyone know if IFTTT is really at risk from Twitter policy, or is it safe for now? 

  28. RebeccaTodd says:

    I logged in the other day after your post and had to walk away. I LOVE formulas. This could be endlessly fascinating.  Also- Mr. D is the bane of your existence? Poor Mr. D! 

  29. mikejulietbravo says:

    @jeffreypjacobs Except from Twitter!

  30. Tinu says:

    Favorite web shortcut  thingee. 🙂 

  31. ryananderson says:

    @geoffliving Except the Twitter part of the Internet… which, sadly, is all I used it for.

  32. aggyhall says:

    MT @WomenWhoTech IFTTT Lets You Automate the Internet >> how frustrating Twitter is locking them out of API

  33. Ejimak says:

    @MartinaMcGowan @ginidietrich Hi Martina. Heard IFTTT had lost its twitter channel 🙁 Is it still under? Hope you’re good. 🙂

    • MartinaMcGowan says:

      @Ejimak @ginidietrich I think it was twitters choice to discontinue their participqation in the recipes at IFTTT.

  34. AndrewWarner says:

    @tonykarrer I love that service. I also use @zapier for business stuff

  35. TimGeoghegan says:

    @mcleod sometimes to the point of being annoying! It’s a great tool but recipes can get out of hand.

  36. […] yourself! If you want to read the original article on Spin Sucks that I read in September, click here. […]

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