Greg's Tech blog

Sending Freecycle posts to Twitter

Sunday 01 of July, 2012

I've been a member of the Upper Bucks Freecycle list for years. I recently realized I missed most of the postings to the list and as a frequent user if Twitter thought there would be handy if the postings were there as well. I had just looked at the If This Then That service ifttt.com and realized I could solve this for the group.

There are a couple simple steps for this. First was to activate two channels, GMail and Twitter. Activation is simple and generally involves authorizing these application to access accounts on your behalf. Ifttt makes use of OAuth when possible so this is generally secure (but use a strong password on your ifttt account, OK?).

For this use, I used my personal GMail account since I already had a FreeCycle subscription, but I set up a twitter account for this specific case (@UBFC_post (cache)).

Ifttt uses the concept of triggers(events) and actions. The trigger for this recipe was a GMail label of UBFC. (I'd already defined a GMail rule to file my UBFC messages).

The action is "Post a new tweet". The contents of the What's happening box are a GMail ingredient {{Subject}} and some extra text to take the reader to the freecycle list ("More Here: http://groups.yahoo.com... #freecycle #ubfc" )

Once you save the recipe, it runs regularly against your mailbox looking for changes and posts a tweet if the action filter matches.

Things I'd like to fix.
- The Freecycle list is closed so I cannot link the reader directly to the message. You must join to see the details
- I really should create an other gmail account for this specific use. Currently if I post something to the list, all of my responses go to Twitter as well since they get the UBFC label