A kindred, or kindred spirit, is a person who helps you achieve a goal or dream or path, or who helps you work on a blog or document.
We also use the word "kindred" for the group of people -- kindreds -- working together.
How do kindreds work in Dream to Learn?
Every resource -- blog, document, path, and micro-blog -- has a kindred tab. Any of the users you have chosen as your colleagues can start contributing to the kindred for that resource. They can leave chat comments, they can leave notes, and they can schedule video chats.
These comments, notes and chats are meant to support and encourage you in your progress toward what you want to accomplish in the blog, document, path or micro-blog. Perhaps the micro-blog documents your progress toward a fitness goal, and then your kindreds provide encouragement and advice as you advance toward that goal. Or perhaps you are trying to define a new career path for yourself, and your kindreds are helping you through a difficult transition.
Not only can your colleagues "self-select" themselves for your kindreds -- you and your colleagues can also invite people to join the kindred. Perhaps one of your colleagues doesn't know much about the careers you are considering, but knows someone who does. Your colleague can then invite that person to join Dream to Learn and to become a part of your kindred.
As you participate in a kindred, by text and video chat, and by writing notes, your activity is tracked. Normally you'll be "active". But if you participate consistently over the course of several weeks, your status will be upgraded to "committed." For every kindred, you'll see your highest level -- meaning that if you achieved a "committed" level at some point in the past, you'll always see your highest level as "committed."
When you look at any user on Dream to Learn, you'll be able to see the number of kindreds where they are active and committed.
So why "kindred"?
Dream to Learn is a social network for people to work together constructively, and we needed a word to capture the unique aspects of working together. I was inspired personally by Alanis Morissette's lyrics to "All I Really Want":
And what I wouldn't give to find a soul mate?
Someone else to catch this drift
And what I wouldn't give to meet a kindred?
"Kindred" is also an old English word, meaning one's family and relations. I like the remapping of kindred from its historical meaning of blood relations to a relationship we find and create, a "kindred spirit."