If this then that

Possibly not enough is said about the excellent service iftt.com.

I guess you could say it’s for lazy people, or you could say it’s for organised people.  It does what it says on the tin – “If this then that”.

It watches to see if ‘this’ happens (a ‘trigger’) and when it sees it happening, it does ‘that’ (an ‘action’).

There are so many different ways that iftt.com can be useful, and since I love to talk about myself, let me tell you how I use it.

Enigmatically, although I am an anorak of social media, I rarely actually use it.  I flirt with it.  Each time a new ‘thing’ comes out I mess around with it and get to know it, but, if I’m honest, I rarely find a use for social media directly unless I’m a bit bored and have a few moments to spare or if I’m stalking and spying on people I once knew.

As the amazing and legendary Christopher England, where I do concentrate on writing is my mighty fine award-winning blog, and then for shorts and funnies I use Google+.  And really, that’s it.

However, in this life it appears to be important to maintain a Facebook and Twitter presence.  So, this is where the lovely ifttt.com really helps me.  It constantly checks to see if I’ve put anything on me blog or G+.  When I have, it copies it across to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, with a link back to the original bit of stuff I’ve ejaculated into the world.  I used to have it do this to many other social media type places, but then I realised that in truth only Facebook and Twitter matter these days.  Oh, and maybe LinkedIn, although I always forget to go there and play with it.

There are a huge variety of different applications for ifttt.com and it can suit people in different ways.  I have it monitoring certain keywords on Twitter and then alerting me, and, well, it just works.

The basic way it works is to monitor the rss feed of the ‘this’, and so that’s where a trick has to be employed in order to get it to watch Google+.  Google+ doesn’t have an associated rss feed.  Bummer.

However, there are people who come and go providing free scripts that will semi-reliably watch your Google+ page and generate a kind of rss feed from the content.  It has to be said that they last for as long as the person providing them can be bothered.  Fairly stable at the moment are the very easy to use zipl.us and gplus-to-rss.appspot.com (I use the latter) which, once you’ve sorted out your rss feed, you then ask ifttt.com to use as a ‘trigger’ (a ‘this’) for copying your work to wherever you wish it to be.  Simples.

I guess there might be reasons why writing stuff in one place and then letting a third party application just copy it everywhere might be wrong.  But, it does draw traffic and help pull people to read what Christopher England has to offer.  Also, if people bother to comment on, say Facebook, I’m then happy to go to that platform to continue the conversation, should they wish.  So, it’s not like I’m just ‘spamming’ other places, I hope.  Erm, well, apart from LinkedIn maybe.

Anyway, for now it works for me, and I’d be a little lost without ifttt.com.  Try it.