The Association for Qualitative Research
The Hub of Qualitative Thinking

Making things happen,... automatically

We now live in a world full of software and apps. Problem is, these often sit in their siloed place, merrily doing their thing, without consideration of the rest.

Usually this is fine, but sometimes it would be useful for them to talk to one another, albeit not in a creepy, Facebook, AI bot way. Thankfully, there is a handy app for that. If This Then That (IFTTT) allows you to set rules so that, when one thing occurs, another automatically happens.

For example, you can set it up to archive every @ mention on Twitter into a Google spreadsheet, to post on LinkedIn when taking an Instagram at work, or to text your partner when your phone battery is low — and to do all this automatically.

It strikes me that, while this might be early days for getting one thing to work automatically for you, this could be quite useful for researchers. Imagine a world where you receive a message when someone enters a certain location (helpful if you’re meeting an accompanied shop, say), or any Instagram posts from participants with set tags go into a centralised cloud drive for projects. It might take some working out, but living in a world where apps work harder for us could well become the researcher’s dream.


Colin Rice
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