IFTTT: Understanding Recipes

Last week I had an epic fail using If This Then That (IFTTT). The primary reason is I didn’t take the time to fully understand how the recipes work and are structured. The outcome, two tweets were sent from BufferApp to Twitter to WordPress to Linked In in an infinite loop, which I caught after about 50 postings.

IFTTT is actually pretty simple. Channels are media sites you have an account with (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, RSS feeds, etc). You sign-in and authorize IFTTT to access your account. Recipes are simple sets of instructions including a source and destination.

First recipe I set-up was to send my Tweets to Evernote so I would have an archive. To accomplish this I had to add both Twitter and Evernote as channels. When I select Twitter it asked if I wanted to include retweets and replies via a checkbox. Then on the right was a drop down box that included fields based on Twitter. In the main body of the page were fields required to send to Evernote.

You then decide what you want to include in the Note Title, Body, Name of the Notebook you are submitting to, and any Tags for inclusion.

Once you activate the recipe your tweets begin being posted to Evernote.

After setting up Twitter to Evernote, I set up Google Reader to Evernote by using someone else’s recipe (you can then modify if you want). Now whenever I star an item in Reader it is sent to Evernote.

After learning how the recipes worked, I set-up my own to send from Twitter to LinkedIn as a status update (LinkedIn recently killed the ability to send from Twitter). I also set-up an Olympic related recipe that looks for “Wrestling” on ESPN searches and sends an SMS text to my phone when stories are posted.

There are 50 channels to use in your recipes.

You definitely have to think out what you want to accomplish, but the tool itself is pretty straight foward once you take the time to grasp the basic concept.

Would you use this type of service? Do you have any favorite recipes? What would you like to automate?


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