I am not a fan of most “social media” sites. Especially Facebook and Google+. Twitter I don’t mind because it at least has scope. They are not where I want to spend my time or create content. They want to be the whole Internet for people - so they have ownership over the advertising space. They want you to put your content there (for free) so they can monetize it. It feels a lot like “working for exposure” IMHO.
So my stuff goes on sites I control with a domain I own. When I post something here, my feed gets updated … and I usually tweet about it. And I could login to Facebook and post there too … but everytime I login to Facebook it makes me feel kinda stabby. Same with Google+. So how can I get a Jekyll based site to automatically update to social media networks?
Enter https://ifttt.com - AKA “if this, then that”.
IFTTT lets you hook up web services on the Internet to each other. You create “recipes” with a “this” and a “that”. When the “this” bit happens, IFTTT does the “that” bit. So whenever you do something on one service it can automatically trigger an action on another service. And it’s all pretty easy to do.
For example you can create a recipe with the this of “when I favorite a tweet” and the that of “append the username and tweet to a faved_tweets.txt in my Dropbox account”. Or “whenever I put a new photo in this public Dropbox folder, post it to Tumblr”.
However what is really cool for me is being able to use an RSS or ATOM feed as the “this”. So I can create a recipe that, everytime the feed has new item added to it, will perform an action with that new item, like posting about it to Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. Pretty cool.
So problem solved. I can just post stuff to my blog and IFTTT takes care of spamming the social media airwaves for me.
Well mostly. Turns out that Google+ limits access to their API in interesting ways. You can only create new posts using their API if you are part of their partner program. Everybody else has read only access. So no posting to Google+ unless you go through a 3rd party like HootSuite. Something something open etc.