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May 2015 - Social Media
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Social Media 201: If This, Then That

by Reg Levy

If you missed the 101 series, check out the archives. We covered the basics of each of the major social media networks and how they can be incorporated into a lawyer’s strategy for networking and connection with clients. In Social Media 201, we will cover more innovative uses, tips, and tricks. This article will cover If This, Then That (IFTTT), a rules-based tool for social media and other online services.


You may be familiar with rules from your computer’s email program: when emails come in from a certain sender, they get flagged a certain color; when emails come in with a certain subject, they get sent to a certain folder. These are automated tasks that your email program is designed to carry out, to make your email-based life easier.

IFTTT uses the same principle: you connect various social media accounts to it and then create “recipes” that tell it to do one thing when another thing happens. For example: whenever you post something to LinkedIn, IFTTT will automatically post that link to your Twitter account. This helps boost your posts—LinkedIn posts now get seen not just by your LinkedIn contacts but by your Twitter followers.

IFTTT is an extraordinarily powerful tool to manage your digital life. This series focuses on social media and IFTTT definitely maximizes your use of social media platforms. If you can do something with one social media service, you can automate that action and connect it to another. If you know a little bit about logical programing, you can easily create your own recipes. If you don’t, or don’t have time, or don’t care to reinvent the wheel, IFTTT hosts a searchable list of recipes on its site.

Some examples that you may find useful:

·         When someone follows you on Twitter, send a tweet to them inviting them to follow you on other social media sites.

·         Create a spreadsheet on Google Drive containing your LinkedIn connections; you can use this to keep track of how you met, when you last saw them, what their interests are (so you can reach out to them when you come across something they might find of interest).

·         Looking to make a move? Put LinkedIn’s job suggestions into a spreadsheet for you to review at your leisure. Or refine your search by tracking job posts from just the companies you’re interested in.

·         Maintain a consistent image online by linking updates to one social media platform’s profile image to other platforms.

·         Track current affairs or regular trends on Twitter by automatically creating a list of people who tweet about #law, #diversity, #cybersecurity, or whatever else you want to track.

·         Find out what genres of Twitter accounts you like by tracking your favorites.

·         Favorite tweets to read later—and export them to an Evernote file. (Don’t use Evernote? Export them to Google Drive!)

This series focuses on social media, but IFTTT is more powerful than just social media, it’s a way of managing all of the online parts of your digital life:

·         Get an email reminder to email your contacts “Happy Birthday” (this can be modified to include any date—work anniversary, anniversary, child’s birthday).

·         Backup your contacts to the cloud.

·         Get inspiration from the stars on your phone (for Android or iOS).

·         Notify loved ones if you have to dial 911—or set it up on a child’s phone to notify you.

·         Wake up naturally by combining FitBit and Hue.

·         Get notified when that couch/apartment/job/puppy you’ve been looking for gets posted to Craigslist.

·         Notify your accountability partner if you’re not getting enough exercise.

Given the amount of time we spend online, If This, Then That’s functionality is limited only by your imagination and ability to set up recipes. IFTTT’s tagline is “Put the internet to work for you” and with the internet working for you, you can focus on working for yourself!

Reg Levy is the WLALA Website Committee Chair.  She is VP of Compliance + Policy at Minds + Machine.

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