By following the directions and really thinking about what each app was communicating with the other, I began to slowly understand how the Internet of Things (IoT) works on a small scale.
Once I got my own Photon connected to the Internet, I was able to start taking the code apart and changing it. I literally squealed when my LED, connected to a hashtag on Twitter, turned on for the first time!
I've started learning a bit about the role of Web Hooks and JSON (Java Script Object Notation), both of which are aspects of connecting physical objects with data. Thanks to the excellent documentation in the Remembrall Instructable, I now have a road map for making my first wifi connected object tied to the data I choose.
Another thing that I've been playing with is creating an object connected via Particle Build to ThingSpeak's CheerLights channel. In case you haven't heard of CheerLights yet (I just did), data, generated through people's tweets around the world, can be harnessed to control the color of LEDs in your own physical objects. For example, if I send a tweet to @CheerLights and request a specific color, a Web Hook triggered by the Twitter feed will signal a change in the LED color on all of the objects connected to the data feed, including my own.
If I connect my own object to the data (in this case, a Photon with a Spark Fun Wearable Shield attached to a neopixel), I can see the light color change in near real time!