Jeff Utecht states that he has found that many people go through simmilar stages of PLN development in his blog “Stages of PLN Adoption”. His stages of development make sense for the beginning PLN developer. Although keep in mind that if you have already developed you PLN and are very happy with the direction you are headed don’t change what you are doing, continue, each of us will develop a PLN that has a life of its’ own. Here are his stages he has developed:
Stage 1 Immersion: Immerse yourself into networks. Create any and all networks you can find where there are people and ideas to connect to. Collaboration and connections take off.
Stage 2 Evaluation: Evaluate your networks and start to focus in on which networks you really want to focus your time on. You begin feeling a sense of urgency and try to figure out a way to “Know it all.”
Stage 3 Know it all: Find that you are spending many hours trying to learn everything you can. Realize there is much you do not know and feel like you can’t disconnect. This usually comes with spending every waking minutes trying to be connected to the point that you give up sleep and contact with others around you to be connected to your networks of knowledge.
Stage 4 Perspective: Start to put your life into perspective. Usually comes when you are forced to leave the network for awhile and spend time with family and friends who are not connected (a vacation to a hotel that does not offer a wireless connection, or visiting friends or family who do not have an Internet connection).
Stage 5 Balance: Try and find that balance between learning and living. Understanding that you can not know it all, and begin to understand that you can rely on your network to learn and store knowledge for you. A sense of calm begins as you understand that you can learn when you need to learn and you do not need to know it all right now
Jeff makes a good point, do not let your PLN consume you. It is a tool and should be thought of and used as one. Work on it when you find something you find interesting or have learned something from. Blog about it if you feel it is something you would like to tell others, link it if you find it important to your content, ignore it if you find it useless.
A PLN is a growing entity, it may increase two fold one day and nothing the next.