Howard Rheingold: beginner’s guide to tool (s) leveraging the Internet

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Howard Rheingold
Howard Rheingold

Automating repetitive processes, including those you use to seek, filter, tag, store, and retrieve information, can be a useful infotention practice. I’ve Scooped IFTTT before. This blog post is by social media management service Buffer, so the examples are Buffer-centric, but any of these automation tools can be applied to a variety of platforms, services, and practices.

The beginner’s guide to putting the internet to work for you: How to easily save 60 minutes every day

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One of the most fun and useful things I’ve been doing lately is automating small processes I do all the time. It took me a while to work up the courage to dive into automation, as it always seemed like a really difficult, technical thing to do, which should be left to programmers.

Luckily, there are lots of tools being created lately to make automation much easier for those of us without a solid understanding of how our computers really work.

Sometimes repetition is good for us – for instance, when it comes to developing new skills. But rote tasks don’t serve much purpose. Every time I noticed myself doing tasks over and over now, I try to find a way to automate it the same way we create social media shortcuts at Buffer. And when I do, it feels amazing to watch my computer doing stuff for me, or to see files and text show up in the right places at the right times, as if by magic.

I bet if you really pay attention, you’ll pick up a few small tasks you do all the time. It might be copying and pasting links to previous blog posts you’ve written (I have an example for how to automate that below), adding up specific numbers, visiting the same websites every day or another element of your daily routine. Maybe some of these tools can help.

Read full article with many links and graphics.

Phi Beta Iota: The article is for Mac users. There are useful suggestions for PC/Windows users in the comments.