5 Creative Ways to Use IFTTT as a College Student
College students are known for being especially tech savvy. We love using technology to procrastinate during an all nighter, post pictures from a crazy weekend to social sharing sites, and communicate rapidly with friends all over the world. We’re always looking for new and unique ways to put technology to work for us – to make our lives more productive, more interesting, and more fun.
That’s why I love IFTTT. It stands for “if this, then that”. It’s a web service that lets you streamline your daily tech experience by creating ‘recipes’ to automate tasks in the case of certain tech triggers. Sure, you can use IFTTT to automatically send a “Thank You” to new Twitter followers, or send you an email with the weekly weather forecast, but why limit yourself to these entry-level automations? Here are some creative ways others are using IFTTT that college students will find particularly relevant to their lives:
Know When Someone Hacks Into Your Facebook
Anyone who has lived with a roommate in the age of Facebook knows just how annoying this can be. It’s difficult to remember to logout of your Facebook every time you leave your computer unattended. Thus, it’s not uncommon to discover that your status may have been updated by a friend without your knowledge. These statuses always seem to follow a similar format: (explicit verb)+(gross adjective)+(body part). This recipe from IFTTT allows you to receive a text notifying you of a recent Facebook status update so you can make sure to remove all traces before it reaches – gasp! – your mother.
Escape An Awkward Situation
Walking across a college campus, you’re bound to encounter a range of individuals, some you want to talk to… and others you don’t. Everyone hates being roped into an awkward conversation, searching desperately for an escape. This recipe from IFTTT calls your phone if you send it an SMS with the message ‘help me’ (or whatever tag you choose). Your “very important” phone call will be enough to deter even ex-girlfriends/boyfriends and meddling professors.
Get A Summer Job
The job search is brutal. It’s even more frustrating when you attempt to balance midterms and research papers while looking for work. Sometimes you just wish a job would find you instead of the other way around. This recipe from IFTTT emails you when someone posts an ad with the search criteria you specify, saving you the time and exhaustion of constantly perusing Craigslist.
Call Your Mother
Parents always appreciate a thoughtful call from their children at college. This IFTTT recipe pings you with a text reminding you to call mom or dad at a certain time every week, meaning fewer passive aggressive Facebook messages and more awesome care packages.
Curb Your Procrastination
Nothing is harder than avoiding Facebook and Twitter during a long night in the library. A quick peek to reward yourself for finishing a chapter of your textbook can easily turn into hours of useless browsing through pictures and tweets. If you find yourself constantly tweeting or updating your Facebook status, you can program IFTTT to call your phone each time you access these social networks. If that constant annoyance isn’t enough to deter you, you can have Twitter and Facebook updates automatically forwarded to a Pocket account to read later.
And, just like that, with a little creativity and intuition, IFTTT can equip anyone from the biggest tech junkie down to the average college student with the tools to automate and improve their everyday lives. It’s easy to set up an account and start making recipes of your own.
Joe Becic is a Sophomore at Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley. He is majoring in finance and is interested in entrepreneurship and writing. He is currently interning at a tech startup called OpenSesame, the world’s largest and fastest-growing marketplace for eLearning courseware.