Putting your internet to work

Brandon Kalinowski

Recently, I had the opportunity to try out a service that I had known of for a while. At first I thought why, now I see just how easy it is and the power of an automated internet. What does that mean? My definition of "automated internet" is internet that manages your many accounts. For example: Anytime you post a new video for you, your blog can create a new post about it. Or if you change your Facebook profile picture, the internet will update your Twitter profile picture (for those who have both). Basically, any action on the web can be assigned a reaction in order to automate a web application. It’s the one ring you need to bind all your isolated web apps.

How to set up your own automated internet

This service is called "if this then that" or simply IFTTT. The service allows you to connect your online accounts using that statement. You choose what the "this" is (called a trigger) and then what the "that" is (called an action). The resulting automation is called a recipe. You can create as many recipes as needed. For example check out this sequence:


This setup automatically tweets any time I write a new post in Blogger. Once I’ve set this up with ifttt I can expect anything I post to automatically be tweeted. That's the power of automation.

My favorite recipes:


Whenever I upload an image to Flickr's image hosting service IFTTT will sync those to a Facebook album. This greatly simplifies managing where our family's pictures are, something that was a hassle in the past.


Its pretty cool to get a phone call the day before it rains.


This one's really smart. You call the special IFTTT phone number on any phone and leave a message with an event, date, and time. In other words, its an automated appointment assistant. Leave a message and your Google Calendar will be updated immediately.

Enabling Channels

IFTTT calls any web app that it can connect to a channel. There are 47 total channels, so your favorite web apps such as Gmail, Instapaper, and Dropbox are probably already supported.


Colored apps are already activated; black and white ones need some attention from you. Click them to activate. You’ll probably need to give ifttt permission to access your various services, which can take a while. Don’t worry, it’s more than worth it.

Explore this and you’ll find thousands of possibilities. I can get a phone call when a certain person mentions me on Facebook, or when an item I want on Craigslist is on sale. I can automatically send everything I tweet to Facebook, and vice-versa. I can set up a hotel-style wakeup call. I could have all email attachments downloaded to Dropbox. I could think of many more examples, but you really need to play with this tool yourself to appreciate all it can do.

Brandon Kalinowski

I specialize in integrating technology seamlessly to help others tell compelling stories. For instance, I helped a professor construct a live television studio. I also managed a student news program. These and other experiences spurred a fascination with live streaming. I intern for Legion M as a streaming technical and data analyst. My expertise includes modern web design, video editing, and photography.


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