One of the types of processes you will want to have setup are preconceived actions. Responses say to someone saving off a new piece of content. Or someone say, marks a forum post to be followed. Well then you have things you want to happen at that point. Actions that shouldn’t need a human there to execute. In Drupal 7, you go to Rules for that.
Rules are just that, segments of instructions you want executed every time a trigger even happens that meets with certain conditions. So say I save a node, and want it to post to Twitter when the node in question is published. I create a simple rule that does just that. No problem.
Now, this rule is very simple. It’s basically saying that every time I save a News Article, if that article is published then it should post a tweet to @Fanbards. It’s a simple thing, but it’s also something that can happen often, and frankly I don’t want it to have to be done manually every time I or someone lese posts a new News Article to the site. So I automate the process here.
Now, this is a very simple rule. An event happens, it matters the condition required, it performs an action. That is all Rules are, combinations of these three basic things to automate a process you want to happen without any direct input. You can make it more complex if you need to, and you can bundle together different sets of conditions or actions for use in other rules. This allows for a great deal of flexibility in what you can do.
All you have to do is look for a way and you can usually find it.