Thanks to my brother: my latest tool-toy is IFTTT, a rules (recipe) site that allows users to cross-link their web-mediated services. One of the most common benefits is eliminating some of the content management work that users would otherwise duplicate across sites, work like uploading or archiving images, links, and posts.
How IFTTT Works
With each IFTTT recipe, you can identify a trigger or a starting condition that will prompt an action or consequence in a related service. For example, one of my recipes pushes select content from WordPress to another website I use. If all goes to plan, I’ll be able to focus my synchronous site use on interacting directly with people and reading their content rather than interacting, reading and broadcasting at the same time.
We’ll see if this works out: obviously I’ll be curating content somewhere so it’s just a question of where and how much. But see also Slate on “labor-saving devices” that haven’t saved us much labor. I’ll review this in 3 months to see whether IFTTT is bucking that steady trend for me and has proved itself worth keeping.
IFTTT and Twitter
My coming to IFTTT this late (it’s been live since 2010) means that other web-mediated services have already evolved in ways that diverge from IFTTT’s open cloud model. Twitter, for example, is no longer on IFTTT’s list of possible triggers. For users like me, this means that I can only treat Twitter as a content recipient; I can’t use it to broadcast to other services. It’s a nagging limitation and I’ll have to see whether my Twitter use changes in favor of other microblogging sites that do support both broadcasting and archiving.
The No Automatic Archive status quo for Twitter is also galling given that all public tweets automatically go to the Library of Congress. With an archived output of 130 terabytes and rising, all Twitter users are now published authors, but only a few of us can access the content we’ve authored. That being so, I don’t understand how a CNET editor can link Twitter with serious free-the-data companies when Twitter’s user archive is not yet accessible and users can’t export their information to other services.
News: Windows Live Messenger (1999-2013)
Apparently Microsoft is migrating all Windows Live Messenger users to Skype this spring. Not having used Messenger since the mid 00s myself, I’m surprised it still has such an active user base: just over a third of Skype’s base at about 100 million people worldwide. The web-communications arena has filled out a lot since Messenger’s launch, and I’m hoping that the influx of Live-level users isn’t going to be more disruptive than Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype was two years ago.