If This Then That (ifttt)
Last month, we introduced you to one of the simplest, yet geekiest and coolest tools we’ve come across in a long time. One of the problems with business professionals being overdosed with social networking tools is that a lot of effort is wasted manually updating dozens of sites, figuring out how to make them talk to each other or to you, and there is little cohesion in the space.
Enter If This Then That (ifttt) which allows users to connect nearly any web service together from Gmail to Twitter and Facebook (even Facebook Pages!) to Craigslist and even SMS. The age old idea of conditional constructs has finally made its way to a simple web app that helps automate various digital activities.
Our favorite analogy of how the site works is on the ifttt blog – duct tape and lightsabers… “ifttt isn’t a programming language or app building tool, but rather a much simpler solution. Digital duct tape if you will, allowing you to connect any two services together. You can leave the hard work of creating the individual tools to the engineers and designers. Much like in the physical world when a 12 year old wants a lightsaber, cuts the handle off an old broom and shoves a bike grip on the other end, you can take two things in the digital world and combine them in ways the original creators never imagined.”
New update makes ifttt even MORE awesome
It has just been announced that ifttt has partnered with Buffer which schedules out various social network updates but rather than scheduling each individual update, fixed timeslots determine when buffered updates reach your followers based on the feed you give it. So with Buffer, if I tell it to tweet out my blog automatically, it will do so at 9:21 am, 11:33 am, 1:44 pm, 3:58 pm, 7:12 pm and 10:28 pm without me ever having to touch it.
Now that ifttt has partnered with Buffer, not only can you automate various feeds to other social networks or even over text messaging, they can automatically (without your having to enter each one) line up to go out intermittently throughout the day as you set up.
We gave you a photo tour of setting up ifttt services, and Buffer is no different, only requires that you sign up for a free account on the site. See? Duct tape for social networks!
Ideas for using Buffer + ifttt
There are endless ways to combine ifttt and schedule out status updates, below are a few ideas for ways to use these new tools:
- Realtors can get the RSS feed for price drops in a subdivision from their IDX feed and have it automatically emailed or texted to a listing client that should be up to date on intel. Additionally, this could be a high impact, low effort method of scheduling real estate related tweets out so long as they’re not overly frequent and remain unobtrusive.
- Facebookers can set up their Instagram photos to be staggered out as Facebook updates rather than taking a batch of photos and bombarding Facebook friends.
- Bloggers can set their RSS feed up to be staggered out on Twitter so that no manual entry is needed.
- Set up specific Craigslist searches to be featured on your blog throughout the day rather than all at once. Then, syndicate your blog to your Twitter stream to be tweeted at optimal times you’ve set up.
- At conferences, text message live updates or quotes from speakers and send them to your blog or Twitter or Posterous throughout the day.