IFTIDK: If This, Then I Don’t Know

I have been hearing a lot of the IFTTT workflow where you are able to take inputs, evaluate them in a programmer-esque logical way and then perform an action based on that evaluation. I can see a lot of advantages of being able to manage data streams and organize a disparate number of inputs and put them into a workflow. With so many technologies spanning across multiple ecosystems and companies, the IFTTT workflow serves as a “meta” service that can tie everything together.

But recently, I have been seeing posts and articles that are taking it further by integrating IFTTT deeper into their lives. For example, a recent article on Engadget’s popular IRL series, talks about using it to automatically post photos to Flikr and other integrate other services together. But when I saw this it struck me as incredibly mechanical and impersonal. If I want to share something, shouldn’t that require me taking the time to make the effort?

There was a recent episode of Mad Men where one of the characters was chastised for having their assistant buy the presents, cards, flowers, or other gifts for their spouse or loved one. In a way, IFTTT is a digital personal assistant, but does giving the reins over to an automated process take the humanness out of it? If I use IFTTT to post on social media, is it from me, or my automated workflow? What part of “me” have I put into it?

We are inundated by tons of new information and sources of data, more so each day. I enjoy putting my personal mark on what I post or have it come from my own fingers or interactions with it instead of just “having something take care of it” for me. I use tools to help send information between things, but it passes by my eyes, and I am the one that presses, “OK”.