Learning Search

How to Quickly Follow Local Protests and Actions With Twitter, IFTTT, and Pushover

There have been several protests going on at various airports around the United States over the new immigration policy. If you want to get information on protests from where the protests are actually happening, I have a recipe for you.

Your ingredients: Twitter, IFTTT, and Pushover

You’ll need three ingredients to put this recipe together:

TWITTER: If you don’t know what Twitter is, you probably want to skip this article and do some Googling. You might not know that Twitter offers geotagged tweets. Geotagging’s been on offer for — five years? — if I remember correctly, but you can learn more about it here at Twitter’s support page.

IFTTT: IFTTT stands for IF This, Then That, and is a service that allows you to use the activities of one service (a “trigger”) to make something happen on another service (an “action”.) I have written before about using IFTTT to monitor Reddit. You can get a very detailed overview of how to use Reddit at MakeUseOf.

PUSHOVER: This is the one you’ve probably not heard of. Pushover (https://pushover.net/ ) is simply a way to aggregate notifications in one place on your iPhone, Android phone, or desktop. (I use it on my desktop. As far as i can tell it’s platform-neutral; I’ve used it on Linux, ChromeOS, and Windows machines.)

What we’ll be doing here is finding geotagged posts on Twitter, and using IFTTT and Pushover to aggregate them in one place. You’ll have a “dashboard” of constantly-updated information to let you know what’s going on.

As I type this there is a protest going on at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, also known as RDU. (Also known as “If you get the wrong Lyft driver you can easily drive in circles around it for 45 minutes do not ask me how I know this.”) So we’ll use that as an example.

First thing we do is set up a Pushover account.

Getting Your Pushover On

Pushover is available at https://pushover.net/ . This article will focus on using Pushover on the desktop, so after you register on the site (registration is free) you might want to go directly to the desktop page at https://pushover.net/clients/desktop .

screenshot 2017 01 29 at 2 39 56 pm

Pushover for desktop offers a 7-day free trial, but after that it costs $4.99. That’s $4.99, period, per computer you use it on. No monthly fees. Just $4.99.

You don’t have to pay it right now, though – enter a device name and register your browser.

Now that you’ve got Pushover going, we need to make an IFTTT recipe.

Mixing Your Pushover With Twitter and IFTTT

Head over to IFTTT.com. If you have an account sign in, if not, you can make one for free. For IFTTT basics please refer to my MakeUseOf link above.

We’ll be making an “applet” (that’s what they’re called now) with the trigger of Twitter and the action of Pushover.

Step 1: The Twitter Trigger

screenshot 2017 01 29 at 2 25 44 pm

There are currently ten triggers. The one you want is “New Tweet by Anyone in Area”.

Step 2: The Twitter Action

screenshot 2017 01 29 at 2 45 12 pm

You’ll be asked to enter an address. I had to Google it because I didn’t know the address of the airport. Once entered the map will change to a map reflecting your address; you can use the + and – buttons to make the area you’re monitoring smaller or larger. Keep it as small as you can, especially in a busy metro area – you will get a lot of random stuff otherwise.

screenshot 2017 01 29 at 2 47 30 pm

Once you click on Create trigger, you’ll be directed to pick the Action part of your app – that’s Pushover. Pushover only has one action – to send a notification.

There’s a lot of things to choose from so I’ll have to use two screenshots:

screenshot 2017 01 29 at 3 09 15 pm

screenshot 2017 01 29 at 3 09 30 pm

Now the good news is you don’t have to bother with ANY of the options. You can just click Create action and you’re done. In my case I specified the device I’m using because I use Pushover for other things.

Once you’ve clicked create action you’ll have it all set up. Click Finish and you’re all done!

screenshot 2017 01 29 at 3 28 28 pm

So what do you have now?

You have Twitter being searched on a regular basis for tweets in the geographic area you specified. As the tweets appear, they are aggregated onto a Pushover screen.

Your Pushover screen — assuming you’ve registered your device — is available at https://client.pushover.net/ . Here’s is what a screen looks like:

screenshot 2017 01 29 at 3 31 38 pm

If you click on one of the tweets in the list, you’ll get the tweet on the right panel, along with the option to delete if you get information unrelated to whatever you’re following:

screenshot 2017 01 29 at 3 34 05 pm

Now, there’s more that can be done with this. With more apps (or maybe a more robust solution like Zapier) this could be more of an archiving tool, but at the moment it’s just an easy way to get information about local protests and actions directly from the scene of the protests and actions.

I can explore this further if there’s any interest. I look forward to your feedback. As always, thanks for reading and I love you.

Categories: Learning Search, News, Rants

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