Post by Aleanos
Speaking from many different classes pov (including paladins).
I'd say 3.0 brought alot of fotm rerollers, many whom never really did take their time to learn the class properly.
This is however good since should you be capable of mastering the paladin class other players notice this fairly easily which improves your chances of getting into good groups/guilds/teams.
Svirve has a great view on the different specs in term of leveling let me see if I can dig it up.
In the mean time, Prot is perfectly viable as a leveling spec, I'd suggest you check this guide out for that purpose: Consecrating your way to ding. Tips and tricks. Updated for 3.1!
Paladin healers/tanks are very popular if you ask me, if you're a good tank mobs will stick like glue and if you're a good healer/good geared you'll be flooded with mana.
Edit: Found it Whatever you find the funniest spec to play will always be the fastest way.
If you like to be able to stand in a sea of mobs and still come out at 100% HP & mana. Roll prot.
If you wanna come flying off your mount and have the mob hit the ground before you do. (face)Roll ret.
If you feel like healing the mobs to death (not really holy shock does shocking damage sometimes). Roll holy.
Edit2: Removed a silly metaphor and replaced it with clear text :p