Managing Social Media with IFTTT

Yesterday I attended the first *official* meeting of the Maryland Library Association’s Social Media User Group. The primary discussion focused around a panel of local library professionals who are active in managing library social media accounts. Throughout this discussion, several tools were mentioned for managing multiple social media accounts to create a cohesive presence across platforms. With many of the panelists singing the praises of “IFTTT” for managing content, and several attendees left wanting to know more, the site seems ripe for further discussion in the library world.

What is “IFTTT?”

If This Then That logo

“IFTTT” (pronounced like “gift” without the “g”) stands for “If This Then That.” It is a web-based service that allows you to create automatic connections between different internet applications. These applications, which IFTTT calls “channels,” currently include over 50 sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Delicious, as well as productivity applications like email and Google Drive. Once you’ve created your IFTTT account, you can activate any of the channels in which you have an account and would like to link to other applications.

After activating channels, you will be able to create “recipes” to automatically link content across accounts or to automate activities you perform frequently. Recipes consist of a “trigger” from one channel that leads to an “action” in another channel. Want to archive your Facebook posts as a journal in Evernote? Or automatically post a link of your most recent blog post to your Facebook timeline? Create a recipe!

Recipes in IFTTT

Create Recipe in IFTTT

Create a Recipe in IFTTT

IFTTT gives you the option to set up personal recipes or share your recipes with other users. This means there are already several shared recipes set up for IFTTT channels that you can use or view as examples.

IFTTT leads you through creating a new recipe in a few simple steps. Let’s say I want all of our new LibTechTalk posts to automatically appear as links on my Facebook page. First, I select the channel that will initiate the trigger (or the “this” in the “if this then that” chain).

Choose Trigger in IFTTT

Choosing a trigger channel in IFTTT

Once I’ve selected a channel, I need to choose a trigger action. For this recipe, I’ll choose “Any new post” in the WordPress channel. This means my recipe will be “triggered” every time a new post appears on LibTechTalk.

Choose Trigger in IFTTT

Choose “Any new post” in the WordPress as the recipe trigger.

Next, I choose the channel in which I want the next action to occur (or the “that” in the “if this then that” chain).

Choose action in IFTTT

Setting up an action

In this case, I want the action to occur on my Facebook page, and will select the Facebook channel accordingly. Then, I’ll choose the action I want to occur in Facebook, in this case “Create a link post.”

Choose action in IFTTT

Choose an action in IFTTT

After selecting the action, I can customize how the post will appear in on my Facebook page.

Complete action in IFTTT

Customize an action

Finally, add in a description of the recipe and I’m done! I can also choose to share the recipe with other users, turn the recipe “off,” or delete the recipe altogether.

Finished personal recipe

A personal recipe in IFTTT

Using IFTTT

Although IFTTT does not allow you to monitor any of the activity in your social media accounts, it takes some of the hassle out of linking activities and content across several different sites. You will still need to manage the spontaneous engagement that is so important in cultivating a vibrant social media presence, but IFTTT can help you automate the routine tasks you find yourself completing time and time again. Best of all, IFTTT is free to use and can be accessed anywhere you have internet access.

Ready to dive into IFTTT?

How do you use IFTTT? Do you have any great recipes? Tell us in the comments!

 

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Guest Post: Image Codr for CC images

I love the idea of Creative Commons works. The idea that a creator can set his or her own parameters on what is “fair” use is incredibly powerful. Policing image usage in a digital age can be quite hairy, however. Copy and paste, drag and drop, and “save image as” are all quick and easy ways to grab digital images from the web. Even those of us with the best of intentions for attributing our images often have a hard time keeping the proper documentation connected with the correct images. As an academic librarian, I really want to set a good example for my students by citing all of my images correctly, but I don’t want to have to juggle image files, CC licenses, and links to creators separately.
That’s where Image Codr comes in. As Image Codr says on its website, there are a number of steps involved in properly citing a CC image on a website.
  • Make sure you understood the license correctly
  • Get the correct HTML code for the IMG tag
  • Link the image back to the Flickr photo page
  • Give the author of the image proper credits (Attribution)
  • Link to the Flickr profile of the author
  • Link to the license the image is licensed under
 Image Codr works with CC images from Flickr to make sure that the CC license is understood, to link the image back to the Flickr page, and to give credit to the creator. All you have to do is find a CC image you like, such as this one:
Go to the Image Codr website and click on “Get code!” Enter the website URL, like this:
The result is a webpage that clearly tells you the parameters of the CC license and gives you a chunk of code to copy into your webpage with all the proper links and attributions.
And, voila! Here’s what the code looks like generated on this page:
As Summer into Autumn slips by Robert S. Donovan, on Flickr
I love this site because it takes the guess work out of citing CC images, which I feel is the one complicating factor of CC in general. This site gives a correct, consistent way to cite images on your website without having to do any hand coding. There is also the option to drag a bookmark from the “Get code” page into your browser’s toolbar, so you don’t even have to go to the Image Codr website once you’ve found an image you like.
As for finding CC images on Flickr, you can certainly use Flickr’s own interface by either browsing through their CC images or selecting to search in “The Commons” from the advanced search screen. Image Codr also has a simple search interface that redirects to Flickr. Another option, and the one that I use most frequently, is FlickrCC Blue Mountains. This is an external site that searches only Flickr CC images and redirects you to the Flickr page for grabbing the image. It’s a bare bones site, but I find it to be much easier to use for searching CC images than Flickr’s own site.

Meggan Frost is the Public Services Librarian at Paul Smith’s College in Paul Smiths, NY. As a librarian in a small school, her job requires her to be a jack-of-all-trades, although she spends most of her time trying to create great classes and workshops. A freelancing musician in a previous life, her interests in librarianship are centered on academic libraries with an emphasis on multimedia resources. You can read more at http://librarianmeg.wordpress.com or follow her on Twitter @doubleG2718.

Flickr for Special Collections

Need to find a way to show off your special collections?  Want researchers from your institution as well as around the world to utilize your photos and artifacts?  Flickr is a great tool for doing this.  Flickr is a social image sharing website that allows you to show off photos and images to a much wider audience than simply putting your materials on your special collection website.

Flickr works like this:

  • Set up an account with a name related to the collection or institution.
  • Upload your images to that account
  • Organize your images in related collection sets
  • Tag your images with a variety of terms that help users locate your material.
  • Don’t forget about copyright!  Flickr allows you to attach a Creative Commons license to your work or to specify that all rights are reserved.
  • Watch your images’ tags and notes grow as people find and use your collection.

The Library of Congress is a great example of an institution that successful utilized Flickr for a special collection.  In January 2008, the Library of Congress started their Flickr debut with about 3,000 images.  After only 24 hours and a lot of publicity, their collection had a total of 1.1 million views! (See: For the Common Good: The Library of Congress Flickr Pilot Project) The Library of Congress encourages viewers to add tags and make notes on the images, therefore making their collection and its organization a social project.  Some other institutions utilizing Flickr for their special collections include: