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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Thoughts on IFTTT

Thanks to Google+, I first learned about a service called IFTTT ("if this then that").  They provide a very simple interface where the registered user can set up tasks. Each task consists of selecting a channel (such as Craigslist, Delicious, Instagram and many other social utilities), where a trigger event from said channel results in an action on a target channel. For instance, one can set up an email to be sent to one's account when the local forecast calls for snow. Or in my case, I've set up a task that tweets a customized message of thanks when I'm re-tweeted or followed.

Possibly the most powerful channel that's available on IFTTT is the "Feed". Any RSS feed URL can be used as a trigger. This means that I can now consider leaving networkedblogs, on which I currently rely to syndicate new blog entry notices to Facebook and Twitter. I'd also like to review all my feed subscriptions, and see what else I'd like to automate.

Thinking along those lines, I especially appreciate that many of the channels have filterable action triggers, such as keyword or hashtag values that one can specify. That way, I could ensure that I always see new content about certain topics from specific channels, be they in the form of public bookmarks on Delicious or results from Twitter searches.

I just need to take the time to set it up. Preliminary testing has proven that it works well. However, not every available "recipe" (crowd-sourced configurations that anyone can activate for themselves) is a good idea: case in point, the service is not smart enough to discern whether a tweet is spam or not, so thanking everyone who @mentions you, while tempting to implement, could inadvertently help reward spammers.

About Mayo

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Professional: As "Senior Enterprise SEO Strategist" in IBM's Digital Marketing division, I provide consulting and training services for both internal and external clients. Formerly I was involved in Natural Language Processing, software localization, quality assurance and documentation authoring.
Personal: INTJ Nikkei Nisei ex-patriated Canadian who takes photographs and enjoys Baroque through late Classical music. The G+ page shares some of the "best of" photos.