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From Facebook to Slack, civic engagement just got a little bit easier

Behind the reality-show circus of political scandals are the hidden technical and bureaucratic happenings that most affect our work and lives. To help people keep on top of them all, San Francisco company IFTTT has announced a slew of new automatic update services that expand on a pilot program launched in March.

Short for “if this, then that,” IFTTT is a point-and-click tool that allows people to string together online services and trigger actions based on specific criteria. For instance, if the U.S. State Department issues a travel warning for a country, you can trigger it to send the info to a particular email address. That’s one of 40-plus of pre-built scripts that IFTTT released today, tying information from mostly U.S. government agencies and other organizations into services like email, Google Sheets, Evernote, Slack, Facebook, and Twitter. Other examples include automatically:

* Entering new data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis into a Google spreadsheet

* Sending email updates when ClinicalTrials.gov announces new  trials for diabetes or cancer treatment

* Posting new Department of Labor monthly employment data to project-management app Trello

* Tweeting the latest news from the EPA for a specific topic, like air pollution

* Saving FCC press releases to read later in bookmarking app Pocket

* Saving environmental information from the National Science Foundation to filing app Evernote

* Sharing SEC investor alerts with coworkers in chat app Slack

* Posting Department of Agriculture food recall news to Facebook or Twitter

There are some more down-to-earth ones, like updates on public transit services, as well as some entertaining and whimsical items. For instance, Library of Congress IFTTT scripts can email users the Today in History blog post or update an Android phone’s wallpaper with a new photo.

You can find the whole list of scripts, and instructions for making your own, on IFTTT’s website.

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