If This Then That:
Single Greatest ‘Weapon of Mass Production’
21 best IFTTT recipes for journalists
Although ‘If This Then That’ has been around for nearly five years, I routinely run into friends and industry colleagues at journalism events that don’t yet know about the powerful web-based service.
In short, IFTTT simplifies your life by automating digital tasks to take your productivity to the next level.
Rather than go into technical jargon to explain its application, I typically describe IFTTT as an awesome piece of *FREE* technology that acts like virtual rubber band and glue to connect two web services that you love already — then allowing them to serve you in some new automated way.
By the way, did I mention it’s free?
Earlier this year, IFTTT renamed their original application to IF and released a new suite of apps called Do. The Do apps allow users to create customizable shortcut applications and actions.
The company says that IFTTT users are now “cooking” about 20 million “recipes” each day. In the interest of saving you time from having to sift through the thousands of available Recipes, below is an updated list of recommendations to assist journalists with critical aspects of discovery, productivity and social publishing.
Collect all tweets with a specific hashtag to ensure nothing gets past you. Great for closely monitoring your beat, breaking news or topics of interest.
Not quite the same as culling through geotagged social posts in real-time during breaking news (e.g. Geofeedia, SnapTrends, TweetDeck) — I find this approach to be thorough and impactful for beat reporters, investigative journalists and others interested in drilling down on Twitter posts at specific locations over a duration of time. Imagine as a court reporter, combing through recent tweets from the local courthouse — conveniently emailed to you each morning — to support your search for interesting story angles and interview subjects.
Useful resource for closely monitoring Twitter to receive a notification on your iPhone or iPad whenever a particular user tweets. Especially helpful for those working on stories away from the newsroom — where mobile life is essential life. Make sure you never miss important tweets from local emergency officials during breaking news again. Another example: as more national politicians use Twitter to issue important campaign announcements, no more tying up a newsroom staffer to stare at timelines, feverishly hitting refresh awaiting the anticipated news.
(This recipe also available for Android users HERE)
Great for utilizing Twitter lists to closely monitor beats, topics, events, breaking news and sources. Just determine the interested hashtag and give the list a name.
“Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Email me promptly upon the president’s signature.” — Benjamin Franklin
Every time NASA shares out breaking news, it will show up on your Android Wear device with a space photo. Way cool.
Face it — time management is a universal struggle. With this Recipe, every time you arrive/depart a specifically designated location (assuming you’re carrying your location-enabled smartphone), a new row to a spreadsheet in Google Drive is automatically created. Users can set the areas you want to log [home, office, gym, etc.] — thus taking a big step toward the battle of proper time management.
No more storing hundreds (or — gasp — thousands) of old photos on your mobile device for convenience sake. Take back important device capacity with this Recipe — as your photos automatically back up toyour Dropbox account. Just make sure you don’t forget to switch on background sync.
Rule no. 1 of mobile reporting is A-B-C — Always Be Charging. However, putting this IFTTT Recipe to work for you, allows users to Always Be Conserving. Say you’re at work, with your smartphone having Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on. This Recipe sends you a notification to turn it off whenever you leave work — thus saving you on precious battery reserve. Users can customize to specific locations to inform you whether to turn both on/off.
(This recipe also available for Android version HERE)
This is one of those ‘piece-of-mind’ Recipes that you just sleep better knowing your priceless IG pics are being neatly stored in Dropbox.
It’s become one of life’s great regrets: you favorite interesting articles on Twitter with full intention of devouring them at a later time. Only for your Twitter timeline and distractions to impede those desires. With this Recipe, save those cluttered favorited tweets to your preferred read-it-later app.
Recalling the context of how and when you first met contacts can sometimes seem like a tall order. Remember exactly when you met new contacts with this Recipe.
It’s all about hands-free in 2015. Leveraging IFTTT’s Do Note app, users can create a short note with the watch and save or share it automatically. Evernote released a voice-dictation service this year so you can speak into the Watch app to create a note without having to type.
A one tap, no-nonsense way to post to your team’s slack channel. Simply fill in a note and it will be posted in a Slack channel of your choosing. Great for sending messages on the go or sending a quick note without getting distracted by other things going on in Slack.
Busy Gmail inboxes can grow unwieldy fast. Create a special folder in Evernote to store starred Gmails as long as you like. Great for extending the organized you.
To pack rain gear, or not to pack rain gear? Take the guess work out of this daily dilemma… depending on where you live.
Whether you’re tied up with an interview, crashing deadline or just in a meeting and can’t answer the phone, most of us prefer to receive a text message rather than a mysterious voicemail. With this genius Recipe, when you miss a call, a text is automatically sent to the person to let them know that you’ll call them back. Oh, and that you definitely won’t get their voicemail. :-)
Quit making us work to see your photos. People in general are lazy. Chances are most aren’t going to click the link. Your stunning Instagram pics are meant to be shared in their full glory! Stop selling them short — via static links on Twitter. Don’t just take it from me, listen to the former Twitter manager for News & Journalism, Mark Luckie: adding photos to your Twitter posts double your engagement. This simple Recipe turns boring links into beautifully displayed images on Twitter. Huge difference-maker here, folks. Think about your audience.
A big part of success on social media is finding your voice and sharing consistently across the primary social networks. What better/easier way to maintain some of that visual consistency by connecting your FB with your Twitter profile pics to update when you feel the next change coming on?
I was presenting at a conference with David Cohn (@DigiDave) recently and he mentioned this Recipe as one of his favorite social engagement hacks. By connecting Twitter and LinkedIn via IFTTT, Dave shared, “people began complimenting me at how active and engaged I had become with thoughtful posts on LinkedIn… when truth is I’m not really doing anything extra.”
Another solid multi-tasking resource for those interested in publishing to their Tumblr blogs at the same time they upload video to YouTube.
Missed any? Please leave your favorite IFTTT Recipes on here.