Tuesday, June 4, 2013

IFTTT Not Now, When?


Credit: ifttt.com
To say IFTTT should be running the world is a bold statement. Perhaps I can start with “everyone in the world should be using IFTTT.” If you are unfamiliar with IFTTT, which stands for If This Then That (pronounced like lift, without the l), quickly visit ifttt.com. In a nutshell, this nifty web service automates activities on the web for you. The premise is simple: when one thing happens (trigger), IFTTT lets you create an automatic reaction (result). You can customize tasks to suit your needs. This tool captures the best elements of each app (ultimately improving apps functionality and making them easier to use) based on personal interests and needs.
“I have a deep fascination with design. Not just aesthetic design, but really thinking about how people use products, and then what those products are able to do…..Design changes behavior, and people’s relationships to the world and to each other,” Linden Tibbets, founder of IFTTT told Mashable. In response to Tibbets, I ask, “IFTTT not now, when will everyone start using ifttt, or similar automation services, to make their lives easier?”

Let’s say you want to receive a text message if the weather forecast calls for rain in your area. Maybe you want to archive all your Facebook photos, therefore, you create a “recipe” that shuttles any pictures you are tagged in to a special Dropbox folder. For awkward social situations you want to avoid, you send IFTTT a text message using a designated trigger word, and the app will ring your phone with “an emergency call” that allows for an instant escape. There's a Craigslist search recipe that sends you an email or SMS when an item meets your search parameter, meaning you never have to scour Craigslist again. IFTTT lets you view and use “recipes” created by other users, so you don’t always have to create a recipe from scratch. One of my favorite recipes created by a member: “alert me via SMS if the CDC reports a zombie outbreak.” It’s humorous to know he’s not only concerned about a zombie apocalypse, he’s also fully covered.

Credit: ifttt.com


Other than the obvious personal use, how does ifttt relate to business? To-do lists can be time consuming to maintain. Rather than posting sticky note reminders all over your desk, pre-set a few web and social actions. If you want to keep an eye on competitors, create an IFTTT recipe to email you a digest of their company blog posts at the same time each day. Never again miss an employee birthday by linking your calendar to an automated email sent to each employee on his/her birthday. You can also use IFTTT to cross pollinate information across social media platforms.

To sum it up, If This Then That is full of potential. This web-app supercharger is not new (it launched in 2010), but it is constantly evolving, improving and growing its user base. It has caught the attention of Forbes, Time, and The New York Times. It's not only fun to use (during the 2012 Olympics at the ESPN offices, one employee used IFTTT to turn on a disco ball triggering the U.S. national anthem every time Team USA won a medal), but the possibilities for an automated trigger service seem to be endless. As more users become more sophisticated at using multiple apps and websites for specific tasks, creating the glue that binds them together, such as IFTTT, makes for a promising vision.

- Maya Goldfine

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About the Author:
Maya Goldfine, Marketing & Communications Specialist, specializes in marketing strategy, art direction, and social media. Previously working in the Marketing Department as a Graphic Designer for SideMark, she now maintains the alignment of SideMark's brand strategy through a variety of communication avenues in addition to conceiving, developing and implementing various visual communication efforts. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Digital Arts from the University of Oregon and an Associate of Arts degree in Visual Communications from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. To contact Maya, email her at maya_goldfine@sidemark.com


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