Unleash your inner geek

I don’t know about other comms/web people but social media has pretty much been an add-on to my job description. Add to that budget cuts and a culture of not creating work for ourselves and things get kind of tricky.

Now, I’ve mentioned the nifty little site If This Then That before but there are a lot of comms people out there who still aren’t using it, either because they don’t know about it or haven’t worked out an application for it.

It does exactly what it says – lets you set up rules using triggers to set up actions across different channels – if this happens, do that. Anyone with a bit of geek know-how can do this with RSS feeds – IFTTT just gives people like me a really nice and simple interface to do it without having to know any coding.

I’ve had two IFTTT recipes working for a while – one picks up tweets from our film unit and retweets them on the Council’s main account while the other picks up tweets with the phrase ‘Roads and weather update’ from the Roads  account and retweets them on the Council’s main account.

I also have several inactive ones, mostly for emergency situations waiting for an official hashtag which will automatically retweet fellow emergency responders’ messages if the need arises.


I activated one last week to tie in with the Scottish Government’s Ready Winter campaign. Their official hashtag is #RfW2012 so now every time they tweet using it, we will automatically retweet it. There’s no way we have the resource to sit and watch their account to pick up their hashtag but once you’re set up your recipe it all happens with no human intervention. That’s pretty sweet in my book.

At the time of writing @ReadyScotland has 1,700 followers seeing their winter messages. Now, thanks to IFTTT they are reaching another 7,600 with our followers. Imagine how many people they would reach if all 32 Scottish councils used IFTTT, along with the Fire and Police.

One person recently voiced concern about the security risk of the third party apps that use Twitter but this isn’t an issue as you don’t log into IFTTT using Twitter – you create a separate IFTTT account.

I recently did some social media training with Aberdeenshire Council comms and when I explained IFTTT I could literally hear the cogs whirring in brains. It’s a bit like QR codes – tell someone how you use it and they then think of a completely different way of applying it that didn’t even dawn on you.

I love the simplicity of the IFTTT site, I love what the application does and I love how it makes me look less Penny and more Leonard (but definitely not a patch on Sheldon) 😉

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