It’s 2012, and by the premonitions of many sci-fi writers, we theoretically should be living in a fully automated world by now. The fact that we still even drive our own cars — let alone on the ground — is likely disappointing to many who expected to already be jetting across the universe. Luckily, technology is advancing — cars are learning how to drive themselves, cellphones now come with personal assistants, and new apps are enabling users to automate their online media — even between apps. If This Then That (ifttt) is a new Web-based tool that enables users to create tasks (or “recipes”) that can automate actions on social media networks or applications after an action occurs on a separate social network or application. Some ifttt users use the application to automate social media, such as automatically greeting new followers; others use the tool to automatically digest tweets they mark as favorites in Evernote. If you haven’t tried ifttt, first sign up at ifttt.com. Then, check out our list of the 15 best ifttt recipes to get you started.
Text to escape
Ever had a date so bad that you just couldn’t wait to leave? Perhaps you went to the bathroom and never came back, or secretly texted a friend to call you back to “fake” an emergency. (It’s OK; we’ve all done it.) With this ifttt recipe, you can text ifttt and receive a customized phone call (that you define) to get you out of your disaster of a date — or any other awful situation. To use this recipe, follow the link Text to escape and then customize the phone call message. You can even create multiple messages for different situations you expect the need to escape from.
Tweet with #fb hashtag to Facebook status without hashtag
Twitter and Facebook have now enabled features to make it easy to cross-post either to or from Facebook and Twitter. However, you may not want to post every tweet to Facebook. While some applications exist to allow you to automatically post certain tweets tagged with #fb to Facebook, you must manually remember to tag your tweet with “#fb” to push this tweet to Facebook, and the hashtag will also be included in the Facebook post. This ifttt recipe allows you to create recipes that automatically push tweets with specific hashtags to Facebook and also remove the hashtag when posted to Facebook. If you’d like to push several types of hashtags to Facebook, you’ll just need to create multiple recipes. This recipe is especially convenient when you don’t want to spam your Facebook friends with all of your tweets, but want to make sure that they see specific types of content you write on Twitter. To use this recipe, follow the link Tweet with #fb hashtag to Facebook status without hashtag and change the hashtag to the hashtag you want to use to automatically post from Twitter to Facebook.
Syncing Google+ public posts to Twitter
Are you active on Google+ and Twitter, too? Maintaining an active presence on several social networks can be tough and time consuming, but ifttt can make it easier. This recipe syncs your public Google+ posts to Twitter. The recipe will only work if you share your posts publicly, and will limit the post on Twitter to its 140-character tweet format. However, this recipe is a simple way to automatically share your Google+ posts with Twitter if you’re short on time or other resources. To use this recipe, follow the link Syncing Google+ public posts to Twitter and follow the directions. Your tweet will automatically include a link back to your Google+ post.
Friday Follows, or #FF, are a popular way for Twitter users to share their favorite Twitter users with their own followers to encourage other users to follow them and discover new content. If you have been mentioned in a #FF by another Twitter user, Twitter etiquette encourages users to thank the other user for the inclusion. To help automate this process, an ifttt recipe enables users to automatically thank users for a #FF. To use this recipe, follow the link Thank #FF and change the search term to include your own Twitter username. Then, customize your message and create the task for you to use as your own.
Every time you are tagged in a photo on Facebook, it will be sent to Dropbox
Chances are that your friends harbor more photos of you than you have of yourself — especially on Facebook. If you want to be sure that you get a copy of these photos, especially from friends who seem to take years to deliver copies they keep promising to send, you can use this ifttt recipe to automatically send a copy of a photo you have been tagged in on Facebook right to a your own Dropbox account. To use this recipe, follow the link Facebook photo tag to Dropbox and choose the path of the folder to drop your photos into. You’ll need to sync your Facebook and Dropbox accounts first, of course.
#mypermissions monthly reminder
This is perhaps one of my favorite ifttt recipes, and should be used by anyone who has connected themselves to a plethora of applications that constantly change permissions (which most do). This reminder will send you an email once a month to go to mypermissions.org and check what permissions you gave to what applications, which may trigger you to deactivate certain apps if necessary. To use this recipe, follow the link #mypermissions monthly remindere and change the settings as you desire.
Instagram Photos to Facebook Album
Are you an avid Instagram user? With this ifttt recipe, you can make sure that your Facebook friends automatically see the photos you share via Instagram by sending them to a unique Facebook album you create just for your Instagram photos. To use this recipe, just follow the link Instagram Photos to Facebook Album and create a name for your Facebook album. You’ll of course need to sync your Facebook and Instagram accounts, too.
Save all Instagram photos to Dropbox
If you liked the idea of automatically publishing your Instagram photos to Facebook with that last recipe, you’ll love the idea of saving all of your Instagram photos automatically by syncing them with Dropbox. This ifttt recipe is simple to set up — just follow the link Save all Instagram photos to Dropbox and choose the path of the Dropbox to which you want to save your Instagram pictures, and then create the task.
When the Amazon Free Android App of the Day is posted, send me an email
If you’re an Android user, you likely look forward to the free Android App of the Day. Now, instead of manually checking for the free app every day, you can use this ifttt recipe to automatically email you what the Free App of the Day is. The recipe uses an RSS feed to source the free app, and when a new app is posted to the feed, you will receive an email. To use this recipe, just follow the link Amazon Free Android App of the Day reminder.
Archive my Foursquare check-ins to Google Calendar
This ifttt recipe is another one of my favorites. With this task, you can sync your Foursquare check-ins with your Google Calendar to archive where you’ve been and what you’ve done. This can be useful for those who travel often and want to remember what landmarks they visited on their last vacation, or for those who may want to document important milestones in relationships or within families. It’s also a fun recipe if you’re a foodie; you can use it as a diary of places at which you’ve dined. This ifttt recipe is simple to use and requires no customization to set up; just follow the link Archive my Foursquare check-ins to Google Calendar and add it as a task to start using the function.
Email me an invite when a new startup is featured @betalist
Want to know all about the hottest new up-and-coming startups? You could visit betali.st, or you could use this recipe at ifttt to receive an email with invites to startups featured on betalist. This recipe is a particular favorite of LockerGnome community member Shaun Dunne, and we like it a lot as well. To use this recipe, just follow the link Email me an invite when a new startup is featured @betalist and simply create the task.
Thanking people in Twitter when they mention you or RT
Are you a very thankful person? With this ifttt recipe, you can show your appreciation for mentions and RTs on Twitter automatically. The recipe searches for mentions of you on Twitter and allows you to say something to the effect of “Thanks for the mention!” To use this recipe, just follow the link Thanking people in Twitter when they mention you or RT. You can of course, customize your thank you message if you desire. (Just keep in mind that sometimes automating social media can make you look like a jerk, so be careful!)
When Facebook profile picture changes, update Twitter profile picture
Do you like to use the same profile picture across multiple social networks, but hate the time it takes to update each individual photo? With this ifttt recipe, you can automate the process by forcing Twitter to update your profile picture when you update your Facebook profile picture. The recipe is simple: Just follow the link When Facebook profile picture changes, update Twitter profile picture and create the task. You’ll need to make sure you have already connected your Facebook and Twitter accounts, first.
When a new book is added to Kindle Top 100 Free E-books, send me an email
One of the perks of using Kindle as your e-reader is access to free e-books. Unfortunately, remembering to look for new additions can be a hassle. With this ifttt, you can receive an email when a new book is add to the Kindle Top 100 Free E-books catalog. This ifttt recipe is easy to set up by following the link Kindle Top 100 Free E-books. If you’re in the US, you may want consider changing the RSS feed to this list to be sure you have the correct list of free e-books for your region.
When a new album is added to Amazon’s Top Free MP3 Albums, send me an email
If you use Amazon to purchase music, you’ll want to be sure to use this ifttt to be alerted when a new album is added to Amazon’s free MP3 library. This recipe is all set up and ready for you to use, so you can simply follow the link When a new album is added to Amazon’s Top Free MP3 Albums, send me an email and add it as a task to be notified via email when a new album is added.
Update: LockerGnome community member Olli Hull shared another great recipe – TDLR TWEET OUT! (Okay, so it should be “TLDR”, but we appreciate the effort!) With this recipe you can automatically tweet when our next TLDR is about to air live on YouTube to alert your friends and followers. Note: You may want to change the time for your recipe so it sends the tweet at 3pm Pacific Time, which is when TLDR airs Monday-Friday.
Do you use ifttt? If so, what are your favorite recipes? Feel free to share yours in the comments.