Discovering “ifttt”

If I said to you “ifttt” then you’d probably think I was slurring some random letters around to express my dislike for something.

Actually “ifttt” stands for “If This Then That”. ‘But what is ifttt?!’ I may here you cry!

ifttt is a web app that puts “the internet to work by creating tasks”. The tasks follow the formula ‘if this, then that’.

I found ifttt when Vic from Staffs Union started using it to tweet when he had a new follower. I also saw some others using it to tweet specific things but I’ve found a more creative use for it!

Some of the channels available on ifttt

ifttt tasks are built up by using channels to configure triggers and actions. There are currently 39 channels that you can configure, including the usual suspects of Twitter, Facebook and Gmail. There’s also some interesting ones like date & time, SMS and phone calls!

One that interested me was the triggers linked to your Last.fm account. Every time you scrobble a track to Last.fm you can trigger a channel action.

I’ve wanted to display the music that I listen to on my website for quite a while. Until recently I had Twitterfeed take my Last.fm RSS feed and tweet it to a Twitter account that I used just for that. I then displayed that Twitter timeline in a WordPress widget. It was a fairly long way round of doing it and sometimes I didn’t have the effect I wanted.

I figured that with ifttt and some goodies from Tumblr I would be able to show off my latest scrobbled tracks as well as their album covers in a slightly easier way.

So I attached my Last.fm account to ifttt, then set up a Tumblr blog called What Oliver Listens To. I had learnt when I put together Stoke CU’s media page that you can embed a tumblog using a bit of Javascript found on their Goodies page. It comes with no styling and just some Tumblr classes with which you can play with.

I told ifttt that when I scrobble a track, it should post a photo post on Tumblr, with the album cover as the photo and the artist and song title in the photo’s caption.

With a bit of CSS magic I got it to look reasonably nice on both this blog and my portfolio site.

There are loads of things that you can do with ifttt! Like ‘When Facebook profile picture changes, update Twitter profile picture‘ or even ‘Annoy friends by posting a link to Rebecca Black’s Friday on Facebook every‘! There are loads of them on the Recipes page on ifttt.

Now, can I get it to text message me when a relative has announced on Facebook what present they’re getting me for Christmas?

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