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On the Spot: Must-Have IFTTT Recipes for Government

Mar 30, 2015
IFTTT recipe for send a SMS at a certain time every day

Ever since we announced IFTTT was available for federal use, dozens of ideas have been shared for how program managers can use the tool to increase their productivity. I asked some API enthusiasts in the SocialGov community which of their favorite recipes were must-haves for all digital teams or for those new to the platform.

First, for those not familiar with it, IFTTT (as in “If This Then That”) combines 166 channels like Twitter, Android and iOS Location, and RSS into “recipes” that can integrate government social media, data, location-based services, and the Internet of Things.

While the potential uses of government APIs for citizen use is getting explored through communities like ProgrammableWeb and our own If Gov Then That, for the purposes of this woman-and-man-on-the-spot question we focused on recipes that could be used internally for government. Each of these examples can and should be customized for your own program, so explore the space. Did we miss something? Let DigitalGov know in the comments section below or email me, and we’ll be sure to share.


Leah Bannon of 18F
As a product manager, Leah Bannon of 18F needs to know when a customer or collaborator wants to take action. The 18F Dashboard, for instance, demonstrates the progress of their projects from Discovery > Alpha > Beta > Live, and invites people to get involved—Leah recommends establishing automatic alerts for programs like this that ensure your team is ready to meet them.

Example: “Notify me if someone submits a pull request to the 18F Dashboard”


Justin Herman of SocialGov Program
Justin Herman of the SocialGov Program encourages teams to set up automatic archives of their posts, whether from social platforms like Twitter and Facebook, or blogs including WordPress. For example, you can create a recipe to automatically archive your posts to a service like Google Calendar that can be shared with your team, or more widely, in order to not only retain records but to visualize timing of content distribution.

Example: “Archive Tweets to Shared Google Calendar”


Melody Kramer of 18F has an eye on where the discussions are happening outside of government, and wants to make sure she’s informed. She recommends teams set up notifications that will automatically inform them when a URL from one of their digital properties is shared on another platform. This helps identify where the conversations are happening, so she can meet customers where they are.

Example: “Notify me if someone submits a link to 18F to reddit”


Tim Lowden of Digital Analytics Program
Tim Lowden of the Digital Analytics Program knows that new positions in digital government are rising up across agencies. To help with professional development and recruitment, he recommends using IFTTT to help potential applicants get alerts when jobs matching specific criteria (such as the positions your department hires) are posted on USAJobs.

Example: “Send a daily email digest of new NASA postings on USAJobs” (customizable for keywords, agencies, salary, etc)


Eric Mill of 18F
Eric Mill of 18F wants to build a recipe that notifies him when a new URL hits the real-time Top 20 list on the new for the first time. The data from this dashboard provides a window into how people are interacting with the government online, and new additions to the Top 20 means a shift in trends that managers can use to understand the customer experience in government.

Honorable Mention: Silence That Phone in Meetings, People

This speaks for itself so your colleagues don’t have to: “Never forget to #silence your #Android phone at #work”