David Warlick is commonly credited for coining the phrase "personal learning network," now shortened to PLN. I've been an avid reader of several edu-bloggers for years, but most recently have soldered my "literature pot" together by aggregating it all via an RSS reader - thanks to a virtual colleague's suggestion. This, of course, is not uncommon in today's Web 2.0 world of Twitter, Plurk, Second Life, blogs, wikis, virtual conferences and other social media. Eating isn't uncommon either, at least for those of us fortunate enough to have jobs that put food on the table. As I sat down today to eat my usual brown bag cuisine of a cold meat sandwich, pretzels, dessert and fruit, I began to wonder what sort of diet might best best illustrate my PLN. Here a quick mental list of what differentiates various diets:

  • Frequency - number of times a person devours a snack or meal in a given period
  • Time - minutes/seconds/hours a person desires (or requires!) to go from "napkin on lap" to "brushing off the crumbs"
  • Choice - dietary or personal preference restrictions on the food to be consumed
I've never been one to "diet" other than one calendar year when I did not drink a carbonated beverage, so I don't consider myself an expert in this area at all. Here are some diets that came to mind and their corresponding PLN behaviors:

South Beach Diet: From wikipedia, "The South Beach Diet is relatively simple in principle. It replaces "bad carbs" and "bad fats" with "good carbs" and "good fats." This type of PLN is constantly changing. Mediocre tweeters and bloggers are purged daily in favor of fresh ones. Simplicity is the backbone for a solid diet of reading each day. Certain types of commentary are repeated while others are avoided like the plague.

Weight Watchers: This a very goal-oriented PLN. Weight Watchers have a specific weight in mind and are then put on a maintenance timeline in order to keep the excess weight off. Once a PLN has enough "good stuff" rolling in each day, the owner is happy to continue reading on a daily basis. Points are given in the form of sharing with others. Until then, it's a fight to reach that magic number of PLN happiness.

Fast Food: This isn't really a diet, but more of a state of mind. Fast food eaters are in a hurry to get their food and eat it as quickly as possible. This type of PLN has tons of options, but was created in a hurry and probably is scanned through quickly on a daily basis in order to best utilize a busy schedule. Healthy eating is not a priority, but good prices and free drinks are essential. Quick information and links to future reading is plentiful.

Applebee's: Your "neighborhood bar and grill" serves up favorites to all who walk through the doors. This type of PLN has the usual "big time" bloggers, tweets and feeds. The menu is pretty standard and you can usually find something good to read every time you pull up a chair.

Home cookin': Mom always made the best food from scratch, right? This type of PLN features one or two favorites and the rest is pretty open. Whatever Mom is-a-cookin' will surely taste good. A few local favorites are featured weekly as well.

What does your PLN look like and how much time do you spend tweaking it?

What's your "PLN diet?" Did I miss yours?