IFTTT to Track Hashtag Usage

Earlier this year we pushed out the use of #ameshighpride to our teachers, and then our students, to promote all of the great things that are happening at our school.  Many other schools have done this, or something similar, so this was not something new but it was definitely something that I wanted to keep track of.  Our goal was that through the use of this hashtag by teachers we could model effective use of social media to students.

As we rolled it out to students, I was nervous how it would go and how students would use it.  While we wanted to use this as a learning experience for students, we also wanted to make sure that we were aware when it was used.  I figured that the sooner we knew when the hashtag was used, the sooner we could have conversations with students if it became a learning experience needed to happen and that would benefit them.  We can not be afraid of having these conversations with students, and some adults, as these become great learning experiences to help prepare students for the digital world they will live and learn in.

IFTTT is a great resource where you can set up recipes that will be triggered by some event and then an action will take place.  It is a very easy tool to use and there is a ton of things you can do with it.  (You can even create a recipe that will turn on a light using a Wemo switch if you send a text to a certain number, something I have done before just for kicks.)  You create recipes by connecting IFTTT to your various other accounts, such as Google Drive or Twitter, to easily have it automatically trigger when certain events happen.

My recipe was very simple, every time someone used the hashtag an email would be sent to me, from myself, with the tweet included.  This allowed me to easily get an email every time someone used the hashtag and I could know right away if this was a learning experience or a great use of the hashtag for others to learn from.

This same idea could easily be used to record the use of the hashtag by instead of having it send an email, you could have them entered into a Google Sheet or Google Doc.  This is great if you are trying to following a hashtag for a weekly chat or during a conference.  I used a similar trigger to log all of the tweets I favorite while at a conference.

Give IFTTT a look and you may find it can help you automate some of the stuff you need to do and may even make you a little more efficient.

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