Earlier this year I started using If This Then That (IFTTT), a web service that allows you to set up recipes based on triggers and actions. Triggers include things like date and time, making a new blog post, or sending an email to IFTTT. Actions include things like making a new Evernote note, sending an SMS to yourself, and posting to social networks. You can easily browser the whole list of IFTTT channels. For a nerd like me who likes to automate and archive, IFTTT is a dream come true.
Archiving with IFTTT
I use IFTTT primarily as an archiving tool. I deal with many different services all over the internet and for those services that have IFTTT triggers I’ve set up recipes to help me record things to a common, easily searchable place. For now that place is mostly Evernote, but I also send things to Google Docs. (Evernote because it is easily searchable, Google Docs because it’s easily exportable.) For example, when I post a link on Facebook that link gets saved to Evernote and a Google Docs spreadsheet. When I favorite a post on App.net the contents of that post get archived. When I star items in Google Reader a link to that article gets archived. I can also send an email to IFTTT and have that email saved to Evernote to help me archive random links or thoughts.
I often find myself wishing I could remember some link I’d once posted or a post I’ve seen and I hope this archiving will help with that. I basically want to be able to run a keyword search on every thing I’ve ever marked as interesting on the web. And someday when I’ve been doing this for a while I should end up with a nice pile of data to play with!
Here are a few select other awesome things you can do with IFTTT:
- Connect package tracking to notifications
- Make your phone ring
- Send yourself notifications based on date/time
- Get stock and weather reports
- Activate electrical switches via SMS
- Look for your stolen bike
And since IFTTT allows you to connect triggers to many different actions the number of recipes you can set up is really staggeringly large.
IFTTT and Twitter
I first started using IFTTT to cross post between Twitter and App.net, and for archiving starred tweets. In August Twitter announced stringent new restrictions on third-party developers that forced IFTTT to remove all Twitter triggers. IFTTT can still make posts to Twitter on your behalf, but that’s about it. That didn’t make me very happy and I’ve resolved to leave Twitter as soon as Google+ gets IFTTT triggers or enough of my network joins App.net.