College football kicks into high gear this weekend, we all want to know how our favorite team is doing, even when we can’t watch it on TV. A portable radio has always been a reliable source of updates. In recent years, activity on Facebook and Twitter gives us a flavor of the action. But what if we could actually get a phone call every time our team scores?
This example is just one of the many tasks which can be automated with a free service call “If This Then That,” located at http://ifttt.com. In this post, I will walk you through this example.
Go to http://ifttt.com and create a free account. You will then be ready to create your first “recipe.” On the dashboard, click on “Create.”
On the next screen, click on the “this” link. You are creating the “trigger.”
You will now see a list of “channels.” In this case, we are going to choose “ESPN.”
You will get a message to “Activate” the channel. Any time you use a channel for the first time, you will be asked to activate it. It takes only a couple of mouse clicks.
Next, you see several options. We are going to choose “New in-game update.” You may later wish to create an additional recipe to get breaking news stories for your favorite team or breaking news stories for a sport of your choosing.
Now, we will select our sport and team from the drop-down menus.
I am going to choose “College Football.” Being a Jacksonville State graduate, my choice is “Jacksonville State Gamecocks.” My trigger is complete, so I choose “Create Trigger.”
I have now finished “if this,” so I can move to the second part of the recipe, “then that.” We will tell the recipe what to do when there is a score in the JSU game. Click “that.”
I see another list of channels. My choice is “Phone Call.” As you examine the options for channels, you will see that you could choose “email” to receive your update that way. For that matter, you could choose “Facebook” and have IFTTT write a Facebook post with the score update for you. But for now, we will choose for you to get a phone call.
On the next screen, you have only one option. Click on “Call my phone.”
On the next screen, click “Create Action.” As you create other recipes, you can customize your messages.
The next screen presents our recipe: “IF a new in-game update for the Jacksonville State University Gamecocks THEN call my phone at xxx-xxx-xxxx.” If you wish, write a description in the space provided. Click “Create Recipe.”
You’re done! When their is a new score involving your favorite team, you get a phone call.
What Else Can You Do With IFTTT?
When the post you are reading now appeared on my blog, an entry appeared on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, letting my connections know this post, complete with the title of the post and a link to it. It all happens without my doing a thing. It’s all done with IFTTT.
One recipe says that IF I post to Blogger, THEN post to Facebook. A second recipe does the same with Twitter, and a third recipe handles LinkedIn. If your business has both a Facebook page and a Twitter account, you could compose a recipe which would allow you to compose something on Twitter and the exact same message post automatically on Facebook.
Other popular uses of IFTTT include alerting you when rain or snow is predicted for your area or even automatically operating WeMo devices.
To become more familiar with the capabilities of IFTTT, click the “Browse” link at the top of the dashboard. When you see one you like, click the arrow to the right of it and then click “Use Recipe.” You can also get other ideas for using IFTTT from these articles:
Give “If This Then That” a try. Once you have created a recipe or two, you will get the hang of it. You just may find a recipe that makes your life easier every day.