IfTTT: How To Automate Your Life and Connect With Amazing People

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I have been blogging sense March of 2016 and easily my favorite thing about it is all of the wonderful people I have met along the way. Early on I connected with Jon Westenberg and Grainne Logue. These two people have been so helpful and encouraging that I can only hope to be half as approachable and kind when someone asks for my time, patience, and advice.

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Enter George Dreemer. George posted his first blog recently on Medium and upon reading it I felt kind of down on myself. Here this guy is one article in and it is so much more interesting than anything I’ve been able to produce. After reading and recommending his piece I start following him both on Medium and on Twitter. On twitter I find a couple of links to his personal site and his business. Inspired by his hustle and jealous of his ambition I’m about to message him when he follows me back.

Fully prepared to risk scaring him off by bombarding him with questions I come to find that he has inquiries of his own. He asks me about Medium, how to navigate it, and how to get views on his articles. The truth is I don’t really know the answers to that myself. What I do know is how to use apps and systems to work for me. I start to tell George about If This Then That or IfTTT for short, and some useful ways to make it work for you as a blogger. Rather than blowing his inbox all to Hell I figured I’d make a post about it here. So to George and anyone else making connections through trial and error: Here are some ways you can automate your blogging routines.

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For the uninitiated IfTTT is an automation app available on iOS and Android that allows you to set up recipes that take the monotony out of frivolous tasks and digital upkeep.

Before we get into what I think everyone should be doing with IfTTT let me emphasize a type of recipe I do not recommend.

Any recipe that says ’IF’ a blog is published on X site ‘THEN’ automatically share it to site Y. The reason I discourage this is that the recipe doesn’t allow you to customize the social post in any way. Doing this will make your twitter look like a spam bot for sharing your work and there you’ll be looking like you have the personality of a potato.

Recipes I recommend everyone give a shot are as follows:

1.’IF’ I add a YouTube video to my watch later queue ’THEN’ save that video to Pocket.

This type of recipe is good for gathering research. Pocket is good for gathering research materials on its own but this recipe eliminates a step by keeping your videos and your articles all in one place.

Bonus: ‘IF’ I tag something in pocket #readlatter ‘THEN’ add it to Todoist. I check this task off before bed.

2.’IF’ I tag something in pocket #<notebook> ‘THEN’ save it to a particular notebook in Evernote.

This essentially takes anything in pocket that I’ve saved for general research and graduates it to useful research and organizes it by project.

3.’IF’ I post something on a blogging platform (currently I have the recipe set to work with WordPress but I post to both sites. If you want to know my feelings on WordPress Vs. Medium you can read that here) ’THEN’ save that post in Google Drive.  Dropbox is also an option.

The purpose of this recipe is simply to save all of my posts for when I build portfolios of my work in the future. Also incase all of my writing vanishes into the void of 0’s and 1’s that is the internet.

4.’IF’ I recommend an article on Medium ‘THEN’ tweet that article.

This is my newest recipe, the one I shared with George initially , and the one I find the most valuable. By simply sharing every story I recommend on Medium this recipe does two things for me. It helps me connect with people that I think are truly great writers I believe I can learn from. It also keeps me in check and reminds me to only recommend stories that I think are worth reading instead of recommending just to recommend.

So if you like this or any other article on Medium and want to connect with the authors-download IfTTT, set up these recipes and click that little green heart. (little green heart not applicable to WordPress)

 

You can also read my blog on Medium
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Medium/ WordPress Killer?

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Literally yesterday evening I was poking around on the web trying to decide whether or not I should stop dual posting on my WordPress account, as well as my Medium account. I have only been writing publicly very recently but when I started I based my publishing schedule off this idea of dual posting.

While putting up my most recent post I ran into some issues over at WordPress that kept me from publishing on Clickable ( the name of my WordPress blog) for hours. For whatever reason WordPress was having a lot of trouble attaching my photos and wouldn’t finish saving changes and just let me publish my article. While I was slapping my keyboard and tweeting at WordPress’s Twitter account trying to resolve the issue my article was already published on Medium waiting to be shared.

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After the dust settled and I was able to have my post up on both platforms and tweet out about it I kept thinking how much nicer the experience on Medium has been for me so far. I love the little plus sign that pops up on the left when you hit the return key which makes adding attachments so smooth. I also made my first connections in the blogging community from Medium.

Then today I wake up and as per usual I’m scrolling through Medium and Twitter when I see this post in which Medium outlines there new services. I don’t know if Medium is reading my mind but they certainly picked an opportune time to rollout their Medium for Publishers and Revenue Beta services.

When I first decided to go with WordPress I did it for two reasons:

1. It seemed easy to customize my sight

2. It seemed easy to migrate from the free .com version of WordPress to the paid .org version of WordPress when I thought I was getting enough traffic to justify enabling affiliate links and other revenue generators.

Mediums announcement put both of these necessities front and center.

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With Medium for Publishers they offer tools that make it easy (hopefully easier than WordPress) to personalize your blog or publication with color schemes, layout templates, and custom navigation settings. They also promise to make it easier for existing platforms to migrate existing content to their platform all while preserving timestamps and links. Seems like a no-brainer.

However I don’t know how I feel about the other part of this “New Medium”. Mediums Revenue Beta is supposed to solve the problem of generating income for its publishers. As far as I can tell they do not offer any support for affiliate links but they do offer some interesting options.

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If Medium accepts your application to become a beta member for this service one of the things you’ll be able to do is turn on Promoted Stories. What this means is that you will be able to tack stories from brand partners to the end of posts that you write. Like a little advertisement for brands that lives at the end of your posts.

The other thing that the Revenue Beta will offer is Membership content. This will allow readers to pay a fee to subscribe to different publications on Medium. Those subscribers will then be granted access to some exclusive posts and other perks (whatever that means).

The Revenue Beta reminds me in a lot of ways of YouTube Red. You pay a fee, you get perks and exclusive content, and you have to be one of a select few creators to really benefit from it. I am mostly curious about the memberships. Will we be paying a fee for every content creator that we want exclusive content from or will there be a premium option in the future that allows access behind all of the pay walls for one price?

I don’t believe I will be shutting down my WordPress account immediately. Instead I will likely continue duel posting on both sights. For now keeping both is a happy Medium.

You can also read my blog at Medium

Keep in touch with me via:

Twitter I_R_Beast

Technology and The End of Starving Artists

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I am what some consider a techno-optimist. I think of technology as an ultimately good force in the universe. While others shriek in fear at the thought of drones buzzing overhead and lecture others for ignoring the world around them in favor of the computers in their laps, in their pockets, and on their faces I’m browsing online tech forums and grinning ear-to-ear every time something new gets unveiled during a developers conference. Not only can I see technologies potential to cure disease and rid us of our fossil fuel dependency I also see technology as bread for starving artists. With the help of gizmos and gadgets these cartoonists, film makers, and musicians have mastered their craft and shared it the world over.

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Scott Adams’ name has recently been popping up with some frequency lately due to his blog posts about Republican Frontrunner Donald (Don’t vote for him) Trump and the controversial candidate’s persuasive hypnotism which you can read about here. If you have zero interest in politics you are likely still aware of Adams as the man behind the popular work-place-comic-strip, Dilbert. Adams began his career as an illustrator the same way that many syndicated cartoonists do. On paper. Adams used to start his first drafts with pencil, then go over it with pen, then shade it with “a sort of decal you could buy at high end art stores.” Afterwords he would mail off his work to his syndication and wait for it to be published. Yuck! In recent years Adams has ditched that tedious and time consuming process and gone paperless with the help of some new technology. Adams now relies on his trusty Wacom Cintiq 21ux, and photoshop. Adams compares the Wacom tablet to paper in the same way one would compare a car to a horse. In this video you can see Adams dragging pre-drawn images into place, flipping them to face the other direction, and scaling them up-processes I imagine take hours. For Adams the Wacom helps the creative process by not getting in the way of it.

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Casey Neistat is one of YouTube’s most recognizable vloggers. Any time somebody mentions vlogging to me I immediately imagine Casey’s white accented sunglasses staring back at me from my computer screen. Casey makes viral videos of all shapes and sizes. From his video Bike Lanes that gained him a lot of initial attention on the internet to doing advertisements for Nike and crazily Snowboarding in New York City streets. Casey is a pro. Even though he would be the first to tell you that you do not need expensive professional gear to make great videos he has some go-to-gadgets that have helped him garner over Two-million subscribers. First and foremost is Casey’s unique DSLR setup consisting of; a Canon EOS 70D, a Canon EF-S 10-22mm lens, a Rode VideoMic Pro, and a Joby Gorilla Pod. Aside from that anti-selfiestick whatchamacallit Casey is not opposed to using simple point-and-shoots, his iPhone, or emerging 360 degree camera rigs. Finally, Casey does all of that while zooming by on his electronic skateboard, the Boosted Board.

Glitch Mob is a three piece electronic music group who’s members include; edIT, Boreta, and Ooah. These guys are my go-to any time I need some music to get me in a productive mood. With albums like Drink The Sea and Love Death Immortality (you can view their full discography here) I have plenty of music to power me through whatever is on my task list. Even though the entire electronic music genre relies on technology The Mob’s gear is something special. They call it the blade. When I reached out to Boreta and asked him to describe it on one sentence he said this-

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Even though you can get a deeper look at the blade here and here I’ll do my best to describe it. The blade is a beautiful cluster-fuck of tech, wires, and instruments who’s engine is affectionately referred to as Lil Kim. The blade’s tech consists of two Mac Pro audio computers running Ableton Live , two Mac Minis for control data onstage, a few universal audio interfaces, and several iPads running Liine Lemur. Needless to say, this thing is an absolute beast-and it helps The Mob to put on some insane shows.

So the next time the media sends you into a panic over the potential threat of rising technology consider the good that can come of it instead. Who knows, maybe technology is being developed right now that could improve your career or highlight the talent of your children. Focus less on the technology that scares you and consider how much technology has already improved the lives of millions and will continue to improve all of our lives for a long time to come.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
-Arthure C. Clarke

You can also read my blog posts on Medium.
Keep in touch with me via:

Twitter I_R_Beast