Don’t Miss a Story: How to Get Brownstoner Notifications on Your Phone


    It used to be that most of Brownstoner’s readers visited directly and basically read it like a newspaper.

    Today, many people still do that — thank you! — but many also arrive via Facebook or Twitter, and increasingly, of course, people are reading the site on their phones.

    With the limited real estate on the smartphone, though, most people aren’t looking for a newspaper-like reading experience anymore. Instead, they’re getting content pushed to their phone — via email, text messages, Facebook notifications, etc. — and interacting with it in more bite-sized installments.

    When we publish something on Brownstoner, you can have a notification sent to you, keeping your phone buzzing throughout the day with what’s going in Brooklyn. Following are a couple ways to do that, using the apps IFTTT and Slack.

    It’s not as complicated as it looks, especially if you’re already using those apps or like to tinker.

    1. IFTTT

    Brownstoner Feed Notification

    Using a free service called IFTTT — which stands for “If This Then That” — you can grab Brownstoner’s RSS feed and turn it into notifications. IFTTT is a flexible service that allows you to assign a “trigger” (e.g.: your friend tags you in Facebook, or the time is 9 p.m.) to an “action” that IFTTT performs (e.g.: sending you an email, or muting your phone) It’s intuitive and easy to set up and use.

    First, download the IF by IFTTT app to your phone and set up an account. You can download it from Apple (iTunes) and from Google (Google Play). After your account is set up, follow these steps:

    1. Go to “My Recipes”.

    2. Click “Create a recipe” (or the “+” sign next to “My Recipes”).

    3. Click the “+” after “if”.

    4. On the “Select Trigger” page, type “feed” into the “Search Services” box.

    5. Click the Feed icon.

    6. Choose “New feed item.” (If you wanted to narrow down your feed to mentions of a certain search term, you could choose “New feed item matches.”)

    Brownstoner Notifications

    7. Type “” into the box.

    8. Click “Next”.

    9. Click “+” after “then”.

    10. On the “Select Action” page, start typing “IF Notifications” into the search box.

    11. Choose “IF Notifications”.

    12. Choose “Send a notification”.

    Brownstoner Notifications

    13. It will show you the template for the notification, which you can edit if you want. When you’re done, click “Next”.

    14. Click “Finish”.

    15. If you haven’t yet allowed notifications on your phone for IF, you’ll get a window telling you how to turn them on.

    You’ve created your first recipe! Now you should get a notification from every time Brownstoner publishes a new story. (Definitely check out other recipes, too — you’d be surprised what you can automate through IFTTT.)

    Brownstoner Notifications

    2. Slack

    Slack is a favorite desktop and mobile tool for teams that work together, especially among people who work in tech. When you first look at it, you may wonder what all the fuss is about. It looks like a simple group chat program where you send messages for everyone in your “channel” to read.

    But by entering a “slash command” (a “/” followed by a word or phrase) into the same text field you use to send a message to everyone in the channel, you can make Slack do all sorts of cool things. One of those things? Subscribing the channel to feeds of websites.

    Because Slack has a good notification system — you can have notifications sent to your desktop, phone, or both — it’s a great way to customize how you receive notice of a new Brownstoner article. And if you have other people in your channel you can even discuss the articles with them as they arrive!

    If you don’t already use Slack, you can get it for free at the App Store and Google Play. Here’s how to set it up to get Brownstoner notifications.

    1. Set up your new Slack account.

    2. Click on “Create” to create a new channel. Call it whatever you want.

    3. In the “Message” box, type “/feed” (don’t type the quotes), followed by “”.

    4. You should get a message from Slackbot letting you know that you subscribed to the feed. Now every new article on Brownstoner will appear on this channel.

    Brownstoner Notifications

    From your phone you can easily set your notifications preferences:

    1. Click on the name of the channel.

    2. Click on “Push Notification Settings”.

    3. Choose “All Activity” to see every post.

    Brownstoner notifications

    If you download the desktop app, you can get a lot more choices on when and where to receive notifications.

    Now you won’t miss a single Brownstoner post!

    Note: For those of you still interested in tangible printed things, we are publishing our first book.

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