If This Then That: How To Rule the Internet Without Losing Your Mind

I just checked-in, updated my status, received an E-mail notification, s%ent an SMS, MM$, Tweet, G-Chat photo upl0aded a Tumblr pic, compl1e+ed hoot 89223### WTF I’m shorting out

Oct 21, 2011 at 5:00pm | Leave a comment

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My life is a flurry of supersignificant notifications. I am ringmaster of a perverse social media circus filled with status updates, forgotten passwords and weekly e-mails corresponding from an elephant cluster of accounts. It’s like spinning plates.

Why do I put up with it? Well, social media is kind of my job, for one, and each app fulfills some small function the others don’t. Oh, and I get a sick satisfaction out of growing my commanding authority, follower by follower, and tending to their every impression. Power.

I’m most def on the disgusting Ugly American end of the social media spectrum. Check out this rigid excess: I currently manage six Twitter handles, a Facebook profile, three Facebook pages, a LinkedIn account, three Tumblrs, two Pinterests, a YouTube account, two Wordpress blogs, two Instagrams, a Pose account, four e-mail addresses and countless apps and other programs that connect with and measure all of the above (Twittercounter, OnlyWire, TweetDeck, HootSuite, Klout). I’m waiting for the inevitable appearance from that redhead Interventionist Candy.

So since I’m maintaining, um, 28 or so accounts, sometimes I get anxiety: What if my brain just straight-up runs out of content one day? My biting commentary could fail me. I could become not-so-Pinteresting. As Helena so elequently put it, documenting the hilarity of life is kind of the new living life.

That’s a bad thing, probably, but it’s still a thing I can be best at. But what would it be like if I could somehow manipulate everything to work together like a machine or digital dominoes?

Enter my new BFF: ifttt.com. Pronounced like lift minus the L, ifttt is one step closer to the fat people with the floating chairs and touchscreens in Wall-E, but also one step closer to me not going blind from nonstop MacBook Pro glare.

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So ifttt stands for “if this, then that.” Basically, ifttt (which is still in beta testing) makes rules across all your sites and devices to simplify your life almost to how it was before social media. You connect their 37 channels any which way you choose, taking actions and turning them into chain reactions. Your photos, statii, e-mail, texts, phone calls, RSS feeds, dates, times, videos, the weather -- you name it -- can all be connected with superprecise rules. ifttt can even help you create functions in reality, like reminders to give your dog Heartguard, texts when it rains, a call telling you to send the rent check in, etc.

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Regardless, there are 37 channels that all can mess with each other. I’m making this sound way more complex than it is, per usual. Sorry, the best part is actually how easy it is. It requires basically no work to set up yourself. But if you’re like my friend Gail who calls me with questions about attaching photos to an e-mail, you might find it easier to just search and activate one of hundreds of user-submitted recipes.

Here are some of my favorite examps:

* Stream your Facebook statuses to Twitter There is literally no other way to do this.

* Add new movie releases to Google Calendar I only watch movies in iTunes windows, but other people who leave their homes might enjoy this.

* Send a mass e-mail to your office when food trucks Tweet that they’re nearby If you are lucky enough to have Thai food roll up to your doorstep, you better celebrate it.

* Take out the trash reminder Wish I’d had this in 7th grade.

* Note to self Drunk dial yourself special instructions and receive via e-mail.

* Push all YouTube Favorites to Tumblr Mine would all be Michelle Phan, how embarrassing.

* Wake-up call Like the Four Seasons but totally animatronic.

* Rescue me from a meeting Text the number and you get an emergency call: also works for dates

* Get e-mails marked important as texts Even though e-mails marked important are basically always boring conference call agendas or something.

* Collect Facebook Status’ as notes in Evernote In case you just can’t get enough of yourself, I like a text whenever specific XOJane posts go up.

I also think it’s really fun to ruin people’s lives by calling them animatronically every time I Tweet. Do you think this is brilliant, or am I fat Pixar person in a floating chair?

Posted in Tech, ifttt, social media