When I’m asked how I got “involved in social media” I have to think back to January 2005, when I had a chance to help podcast the world’s first podcasted conference. I was a manager for a newsroom at the time and taught at the Missouri School of Journalism. It was the first time I really understood the concept of delivering information directly to the consumer instead of the consumer going to a website to get information. Back then, you had to download a program onto your computer to “grab” podcasts and then manually add them into you iPod. These days, iTunes has a massive collection of audio and video podcasts that you can subscribe to directly in iTunes. It’s so easy.
Podcasting was just the beginning. These days, we can tailor all types of information to deliver itself into RSS feed readers (I use Feedly), social media and apps on our devices. I have specific lists on Twitter that collect my favorite news sources, my RSS feed overflows with blog posts I want to read and I wear a Nike+ Fuelband to tell me about my activity when I use Bluetooth to connect to the app on my phone. I love having information constantly delivered to myself without doing much work to seek it out.
That’s why I really love IFTTT. The website means “if this, then that” and it helps automate social media and other tools you use into a more customized way. You can create “recipes” that help take your personal automation to a new level. My favorite recipe collects the links I share on Facebook into my Evernote account. I also like trying out ways Life 360 can be used in a creative way. I use a recipe to send me a text message every time my son leaves his middle school. It’s just an extra reminder he’s going home when I’m working. The recipe that blew my mind was when you can start automating the devices in your home. Check out the Hue light bulbs which connect to your home’s wifi and with the help of IFTTT, you can have the lights turn on when Life360 notices you’ve arrived home. It’s a long way from podcasting for the first time. Automation is now available beyond content, it can be based on your location. I know we’re just starting to tap into its potential.