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April 28, 2011     Tri-County News
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Page 2 ancestors, if you want. After all, they started the "social media" experience. Communities gath- ered around campfires at night, sharing tales of their hunting exploits. Perhaps it was the best of these tales that got to be depicted on the cave walls in the only writ- ten language they had at the time: pictorial drawings. This has evolved, so to speak, over the ages. Town squares were the hub of activity (and informa- tion) for centuries in Europe and then America. The Old West had its hoe-downs and socials, where hard-working pioneers could put down their hoes, let their hair down, and socialize a bit, as a community. Needless to say, the pace of information sharing in the good old days was pretty slow. Zoom forward to today, and we have Facebook. A virtual com- munity of hundreds of millions of people with some thread of con- nection to each other. Instead of sketches of animals and spears, we now have words and photos. And the best part is that it&apos;s all instantaneous. The instant nature of Facebook is both a blessing and a curse. It's easy to respond in the heat of the moment, but harder to take back what you've written. There is also a sense of anonym- ity, even though your name is con- nected to everything you write. Perhaps "distance" is the bet- ter word. There's a sense of being protected or a few steps removed from people online, and it's easier to pick a fight (or continue a fight) from that distance. No one is going to punch you in the nose immedi- ately for something you write on Facebook right now. That makes it easier to write words you might not say to their face. And that can be dangerous, in my opinion. Last week a Minneapolis woman who posted what was viewed to be a threat to the Eden Valley-Watkins Schools. She had set up a fake page (instead of using her real name), which is against the rules. But this just proves that, even when we think we're anonymous, we're not. If you're online, unless you're a profes- sional hacker, you are known and recorded and findable. Always. Jill Pertler "Slices of Life" P Kindness worth a tail wag ame it on our cave-man Some of you may know that I "gave up" Facebook for Lent. No, we don't normally do anything like this for Lent, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. The first thing I noticed, start- ing six weeks ago, was how much more work I was getting done in a day. The next thing I noticed was that I didn't miss all the relation- ship breakups and backstabbing that goes on so much on Facebook. I didn't miss any of the games updates, spam messages, or viral "post this on your page if you care about " messages either. I don't like to hear foul language, and I certainly don't want to read it (especially used by children or people who should know better than to use it in public). And I can live quite happily without seeing photos of drunken teenagers. I often ask myself, "Did he/she forget that Facebook is public?" I will admit: it was hard, at times, to hold back from inter- acting on Facebook. And some of my Facebook friends intention- ally taunted me (you know who you are!). When I felt compelled to respond to something, I did so in private, by e-mail or message. I was not cut off entirely from that world, though. I allowed myself to read what was on Face- book, just not to interact with it. But I no longer felt compelled to read everything that had been posted since I had last checked. And I was freed from feeling I had to check it at all; I don't even notice anymore ifI miss a day or two (or three). It's now the Monday after Eas- ter, and I haven't yet jumped back into my old Facebook habits. Haven't even looked at it yet since Saturday. I hope I never fall back into those habits. I like having more time in my day. And I enjoy having a little more control over what messages (positive or nega- tive) go into my brain each day. I will find my way back "on," and this six-week experiment will end. Perhaps I will use my new- found perspective to help keep Facebook a kinder, gentler place to hang out. Or, more likely, I will be an less-frequent visitor. Meanwhile, please practice safe and civil computing out there, okay? Opinion Thursday, April 28, 2011 Tri-Coun News Kimball, MN nearly cream-colored curly-haired dog named Dog. Even though he's cute and doesn't shed, there are no takers. For the next week, Dog stays with the kind-hearted person. He is loving and grateful. His tail wags more often. He knows where to find his water. He sleeps on his blanket. He even takes possession of a stuffed animal, which he car- ries around in his mouth. The kind-hearted person doesn't worry about the toy being chewed or getting wet from slob- ber. She is glad Dog has found a friend. Soon the leash is no longer per- manently tethered to the radia- tor and Dog enjoys intermittent run of the house. He's pretty well- behaved about his new-found freedom. He may have an accident or two, but feels guilty afterward and tries to make up for it by lick- ing the kind-hearted person's legs. The kind-hearted person notes all this and thinks, "At least he doesn't shed." Then she gives him a maple-flavored dog biscuit, but not too soon after one of his acci- dents because she doesn't want him to think he's getting treats for doing bad things. Then she pets him behind the ears right in the spot where he likes it best. A kind-hearted person realizes bringing Dog home to sleep by the radiator was a temporary sit- uation. He can't live in limbo for- ever. He needs a real home and a real family. I talked with my kind-hearted friend yesterday and she told me some news. "I think we've decided on a name for him," she said. I realized then that a little stray pup had found a new kind-hearted family and I was glad because I like stories with the happy end- ings almost as much as I like hav- ing kind-hearted friends. Jill Pertler, award-winning syn- dicated columnist and author of "The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication" is collecting fans on Facebook on her Slices of Life page. E-mail her at pertmn@ qwest.net; or visit her website at http:llmarketing-by-design.home. mchsi.com/. This column is for Dexter, who is much too cute to be called Dog. I love kind-hearted friends. You know, the type of person who brings a stray dog home from the park and gives him food and water and never once says, "If we feed him he'll never leave." Those kinds of friends. After the dog's belly is full, a kind-hearted person will comb the tangled mats out of his hair and give him a warm bath, during which she will discover that his fur is creamy white and not dark brown after all. When a kind-hearted person notices the dog shivering after his bath, she will say, "Go get the blow dyer so we can fluff him. He's spent enough nights being cold." After all this, the dog will be tired. A kind-hearted person doesn't bring a dog home, feed him and clean him up just to make him spend the night outside on the freezing concrete. She makes a bed for him on the floor near the radi- ator with an old quilt. She attaches the dog's leash to the radiator so he can't roam the house and mark his territory during the night. (Kind does not equal naive.) Next, a kind-hearted person contacts the animal shelter. She isn't ready yet to bring the dog in, but wants to inquire whether he's been reported missing. She is not hopeful. This dog was very dirty and hungry. His paws were muddy and his snout was scraped. He'd been outside for more than a day or two. No one has called looking for him. At this, a kind-hearted per- son will simply sigh. Just because a person is kind- hearted does not mean she col- lects pets on a regular basis. A kind-hearted person might help a stray pooch, but she doesn't nec- essarily want to keep him forever. She and her kind-hearted fam- ily decide to call the dog, "Dog," because they understand once you give an animal a real name, he is yours for good. Within the next few days, a kind-hearted person sees to it Dog is visited by the veterinarian and pet groomer. He gets shots and a haircut and is beginning to look quite handsome and feel rather healthy. His photo is posted on Face- book, in case anyone wants a DEADLINE: 2 p.m. Mondays POSTMASTER: Send address changes to the Tri-County News, RO. Box 220, Kimball MN 55353. The Tri-County News (USPS 639- 180) is entered at the Post Office, Kimball, Minnesota 55353, as Periodi- cats. It is pubUshed Thursdays by the Tn-County News, Inc., RO. Box 220, Kimball MN 55353, Stearns County. 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LE1-FERS: The Tri-County News welcomes letters promoting the ex- change of ideas and opinions. To be considered for publication, letters should address a topic of current or general interest. Private thanks, po- litica[ self-promotion, libelous letters, or letters denigrating character or reputation wilt not be published. At[ letters must bear the writer's signa- ture, address and telephone number. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and readability. LEGAL PUBLICATION: The Tri- County News is the publication of record for the city of Kimball, In- dependent School District #739, Clearwater River Watershed District, Stearns County, and the Townships of Fair Haven, Kingston and Maine Prairie. RECYCLING: The Tri-County News is printed with soy inks on re- cycled paper whenever possible. We encourage recycling. COPYRIGHT: All content herein is the property of the Tri-County News and is protected by U.S. copyright taw; content may not be reproduced without our written prior consent. We are proud to be a member of: Minnesota Newspaper Assoc. Kimball Area Chamber Kimball Area Historical Society Stearns County Press Assoc. 2011 MNA Ad Contest first-place winner; 2010 MNAAward for Best Website; 2010 MNAAward for Best Serf-Promotion Ad; 2010 MNA Award for Best Color Ad; 2010 MNAAward for Best News Photo; 2009 MNA Award for Best Seif-Promotion Ad; 2008 MNA Award for Best Advertise- ment; 2008 Award for Portrait and Personality Photography; 2007 MNA Award for Advertising Excellence; 2007 MNA Award, Best Information Graphic; 2006 MNA Award, Classified Adver- tising; 2004 MNA Award, Advertising Excellence; 2000 MNA Award, Best Local News Story. 2011, Tri-County News II   ,