Does it really matter what manner in which you cast on to your needle? I prefer the backward loop ( I think that's what it's called) that's the only way I know to cast one. I don't understand the longtail method as in the drawings all I see is yarn everywhere.
Yes, it can. Depending on what you are making, can affect the appearance and stretchability. I think you could go to the blogs here or the directory and read up on different methods for a start. Then just try a few out to see how you like them and then you'll understand the differences.
And all the women who were wise of heart spun with their hands, and they kept bringing as yarn the blue thread and the wool dyed reddish purple, the coccus scarlet material and the fine linen. Ex. 35:25
I think longtail cast on is kind of like a game but it's not for everyone. Try a knitted cast on or cable cast on. They're much like doing the knit stitch and they produce a neater, more finished edge. These two cast ons work well if you have to cast on part way through a project and in that case are much better than a backward loop.
Due to time constraints yesterday I wanted to get back to you on this subject.
I like to use this cast on for it has a neat appearance and is stretchy. http://www.knittingdaily.com/glossary/cable-cast-on.aspx
Also you may like to practice the provisional cast on for when you need to add on to your beginning cast on edge, later on in the project. http://www.knittingdaily.com/glossary/invisible-provisional-cast-on.aspx
This Glossary page has some info all arranged alphabetically http://www.knittingdaily.com/glossary/default.aspx It is found at top of page along the brown bar under Free Resources.