One Tool to Rule Them All: The Magic of If This Then That

Most social media and social networking sites allow some limited interaction between different channels. So, for example, you could link your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts so that all your tweets go into your LI status updates. Using tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck you can also schedule actions across several platforms at certain times. And there are many tools that allow you to setup automated responses, like the annoying direct messages some autofollow robots send when you follow their account.

If This Then That goes much further and has created what is effectively a new One Tool To Rule Them All, a deceptively simple utility that allows you to setup "tasks" so that actions in one channel -- twitter, a blog, weather, stock prices, emails, your mobile phone and so on -- can trigger an action in another. You can, for example, setup an automatic email whenever it rains in a certain location. You can auto-archive a photo on dropbox when you have been tagged in it and much more. You can arrange for a Tweet to be autogenerated whenever you upload a video to your YouTube account.  And in the US you can also connect other channels to your phone. In effect you can connect together all your accounts in ways that just weren't possible before.

Conceptually If This Then That is simple, elegant and symmetrical; whatever complexity there might be under the hood is well hidden from the user.  Visually it follows the trend to simple, clean interfaces you see in sites like and while creating tasks is very simple and entirely visual. The design also works well with mobile browsers, allowing you to manage your tasks from anywhere.Already it offers an impressive range of channels and I expect this list will grow and they will eventually offer support for non-US phone numbers.

If This Then That solves many everyday problems and lets you automate chores that used to be done by hand but without writing any code. At the same time it adds a whole new layer of functionality on top of all the channels it supports. Perhaps it will not be the first choice of people who use Facebook only for games, but for more engaged users and social media professionals it is already a must-have tool.  I suspect that Facebook, Twitter, Google and others will rush to add some sort of similar capability to their products, but I also suspect that the smaller, more agile If This Then That can maybe be quicker in adding more channels and working with partners to enable extra capabilities.



Jools said…
That's a nice one :)
I've set up the weather ifttt!

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