Following vs. Tracking Information: What's the Difference?
There are two ways to keep important things on your radar: you can follow activity or track it. Tracking is for crucial need-to-know. Following is for keeping up in a looser sense.
Tracking routes activity from individual documents, discussions, and places into your Communications page, where you'll see it alongside @mentions, direct messages, discussions you contributed to, and any other activity that you're directly involved in. The Communications page alerts you of how many new items you have, and also lets you read-track your updates so you can be sure of reading everything that comes in. Click Track in Communications in the Action menu for any item you want to track. To stop tracking it, just click Stop Tracking. The updates you have will stay in your Communications, but no new updates will be shown there.
Following filters your activity stream so you see the people, places, and items you're interested in, but without the urgency of tracking. Just click Follow in the Action menu for any item that interests you. As the people and groups you follow create new documents and make discussions or blog posts, and as documents you follow are updated, any updates about them will flow into your Activity page under Followed Activity. You can use following to keep up with people, places, and documents you're interested in, but not absolutely required to keep up with. To stop following an item, click Following so the button changes to Follow.
What About Email?
You can also set email notifications on any item you can follow or track by clicking Receive Email Notifications under its Actions menu. This is convenient if you want to be notified by email for certain items such as updates to a document, but you don't want to set your email preferences to send mail about everything in your Followed Activity or Communications. Keep in mind, though, that if you set your email preferences to send mail about everything followed or everything tracked, this setting overrides the individual email setting. Setting an email notification is a very useful way to choose a few items for special notification if you don't want to be overwhelmed with email about everything that happens in a place or project.