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Social media time saver – duct taping your networks together

If This Then That

In 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.

The company writes, “We began with the theory that as our digital tools became more domain specific and easier to use, there would be vast amounts of creative potential in how any two tools might be used in tandem. We knew that with this immense potential came a problem of equal proportions. There just aren’t enough developers and designers in the world to craft all these connections. A million developers at a million laptops wouldn’t even make a dent.”

Just like a 12 year old that wants a lightsaber:

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.”

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Photo tour of how ifttt works:













Tips:

Some people may not like how many permissions are required to authenticate various social networks, so we encourage you to use your best judgment as to what you’re comfortable with.

We found that you can go all the way through the setup process without having to actually set it up, so if you’re curious how each can be tied together and what options are available, it takes a few clicks and a few seconds to find out the power of each network.

The tasks can be modified and deleted, so we encourage experimenting setting different tasks up. Set up a Posterous blog and have all Craigslist ads with listings in your zip code automatically post, or publish all tweets about your brokerage automatically to a Tumblr blog, or get a text any time a specific person or phrase hits your Gmail inbox. The threads connecting all of the networks are endless and we suspect more networks will come aboard soon, so we look forward to using this tool for automation.

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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