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Day 18 - Fragment

Level 8


I didn’t grow up with connections in any industry. Neither one of my parents went to college or made an exorbitant amount of money. My mom was a superhero/childcare provider and my dad spent his 50+ hours a week driving freight while I slept (he still does). I did, however, grow up with the only thing that mattered: parents who believed in me, supported me, and loved me intensely. They poured everything they had into making sure their children had the opportunities they never got. Their greatest piece of advice?  “Be tougher than everyone who’s bigger than you. Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

My name is Allie Eby, and I manage social media at SolarWinds. Yes, I am one of the brains behind the tweets. Social media remains one of the business world’s most mysterious phenomenons. Executives don’t know exactly how it works. It can be seen as a fluffy part of marketing; a nice-to-have rather than a necessity. So how do you convince execs to buy into a program they don’t know a lot about? How do you present them the full power of social media when all they read about it are headlines or fragments? You have to be so good they can’t ignore you.

I took my parents’ advice and ran with it. I never considered myself naturally smarter, faster, or stronger than anyone else. So I made sure I worked harder than anyone I knew, and then I worked even harder just to be sure. If I had reviewed my notes the day before a test three times in a row (one time too many), I told myself to go through it once more. I wanted to ensure I didn’t fail, and to me, getting less than an A was failing. “You’re only as good as the last test you took,” I’d tell myself.

Something happens when you pour so much time and energy into accomplishing a goal. Sometimes you fail. And when you do, it feels like the only thing in the world that matters. All of your previous achievements feel so far away, because you’re focusing so hard on that misstep. That fragment. Despite the hours and weeks poured into planning, studying data, and developing a social marketing plan that will best meet our audience’s interests, I am well aware that’s often what you see of it. Fragments. Sometimes it’s our less attractive fragments. The ones we’re less proud of. The ones where we’ve spent a bit too much time thinking about ourselves instead of thinking about our audience.

When I was young, I was a chronic perfectionist. I stressed out a lot. My grandma was, in many ways, my opposite. She was more about living in the moment instead of constantly looking ahead. She used to encourage me to start enjoying the present instead of stressing so much about my future goals. When I was tempted to look ahead because standing still made me bored, she encouraged me to look around. She taught me how to find and cherish the worth in those in-between moments of time.

What I love about social marketing is that even when the marketing isn’t live (or just isn’t working), there’s the social component. The in-between moments. I like to spend time with our social feedback as I review sentiment, look for trends, and collect data. As a former community manager responsible for actually responding to this feedback, I learned to love the process (yes, even the negative comments). When someone comes to talk to a brand on social, it’s an opportunity. Sometimes, you’re their biggest cheerleader. Their sounding board. The geek in their cube next door. Other times, you’re the place they come to have their complaints heard, and I’ve grown to appreciate that. Once someone tells us the problem they’re having, we find ourselves with the unique opportunity to fix it.

“Tell me your biggest problem. I’ll tell you how I’ll help you solve it.” I had exactly zero experience in the job I was interviewing for right out of college, but I had the one thing that can’t be taught – hustle. I still use that line in interviews today, and I still mean it sincerely. Feedback over the years has varied. I’ve been called everything from “intriguing” and “whip-smart” to “too hungry.” I’ve had “ambitious” used both as a compliment and a criticism. But you know what has happened the majority of the time? I’ve gotten the job.

Do you know what’s better than working with the smartest person in the room? Working with the person who cares the most. The ones who bring fragments of their life experience into work each day. There have been so many times in my life and my career where I’ve wished I could show someone my entire body of work. To explain why I behave the way I do, or make the decisions I make, or show up so darn early to the office. But in most areas of life, all you get to show is a fragment. A small piece of a greater story. If you could choose, which fragments would you want to share? Which parts of your story paint the best picture of who you are today?

One thing I love about social media is that no matter where you are in the world, you get to see the fragments that others have shared. You can bond, you can connect, or you can silently feel a sense of warmth knowing you’re not alone. I enjoy seeing, reading, and hearing people’s fragments.

I hope you’ve enjoyed mine.

Level 10

Level 9

If you think about it, nothing is ever really complete.  Everything we do is just fragments of larger projects.  When planning I always break down my goals into smaller fragments to make them easier to track and obtain.  Our days are full of fragments that make our days complete.  It's how we work with these fragments and not let them fall to the side that makes us who we are.

Level 9

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who can extrapolate from incomplete data

Level 10

Miss Wormwood: Thank you, Claire. That was very good.  All right, who'd like to go next?  Anyone at all, besides Calvin.  Calvin: Hey! For show and tell, I brought these amazing fossilized bone fragments that I painstakingly unearthed from sedimentary deposits in my front yard!  Though they look like ordinary driveway gravel to the untutored eye of the ignorant layman, I immediately recognized these as pieces of jawbone from a new species of carnosaur!  In this dramatic illustration, I've re-created the complete  Calvinosaurus as it would have appeared in the late Jurassic!  Its coloration here is somewhat conjectural.  I'll be publishing my full findings shortly!  Undoubtedly, I'll be the recipient of many lucrative paleontology prizes and in a matter of weeks, prestige, fame and fortune will be mine. When this happens, you can be darn sure that those of you who were mean to me in school will suffer appropriately!  I'll employ my resources to make your puny lives miserable!  I'll crush your pitiful dreams and ambitions like bugs in the dust!  But there is an alternative!  I'm now accepting a limited number of applications to be my pal.  The cost is just $20 per person, and you can revel in the association for a lifetime! Any takers?  Oh yeah?  You just wait!

Level 11

Yes, I have enjoyed yours allieeby. This is such an interesting article. When we contribute to other people's lives by caring, sharing, and sometimes pushing them to do the right thing, the fragments may not be obvious initially but it will always be remembered. This article reminds me of Maya Angelou's quote that says: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

I also like this part of the article: "Do you know what’s better than working with the smartest person in the room? Working with the person who cares the most."

The fragments of our life that are shared via social media can be power if honest.   Many times people spend too much time hiding behind the fake fragments in order to fill a spot because they lack the desire to work harder than someone else who is smarter, faster, or better than they are, but never give themselves the chance to be on top because they lack the conviction to do so.   Make-believe is so much easier than the real world.  I really don't like social media.  I have a lot of accounts but really don't like to look at even my progression.   I have looked at my footprint left, my character flaws, and all the stupid nonsense I posted over the years.   Some of it however i keep so i can say see i had growth, but then i think good grief.....  Although its good to connect and sometime build relationships from the shared fragments, I feel somethings are better left unsaid, or said in completion vs leaving behind the fragment in time. 

Level 12

This life is but a fragment of eternity.

Level 9

I have always been a bit adverse to social media in part due to the selective nature of sharing only specific "fragments" where doing so creates a false sense of the whole. I do understand and respect the role social media has come to play and how useful it is for the exchange of ideas. I am not even sure what role it should play in my life but this is where the thoughts of today has lead me.

Would this be a "fragment" of my thoughts for the day?

Level 13

Our brains are all fragmented

Image result for disk defragmentation photo

Sometimes we wish we could de-frag so we could recall memories:

Related image

Level 10

When I think of the word fragment, the first thing that comes to mind is when I was but a pup and enjoyed running Defragmenter and watching the blocks moving. I know, okay, I don't need you to tell me how bad that is! That was back on Windows 95 or something, it's been a while. The hardware was abysmal (a beige Compaq box my dad bought for £30 from a guy who was clearing out an office) but the experience was magical, and started me down the treacherous path of breaking making computers. It is a fragment of my life, and in and of itself is an experience. As part of the whole of my life, it's now merely represented in my desk coaster, because I've not seen another 1Gb hard drive - or any hard drive with handwriting inside the case - since. At least it's remembered fondly, and I'd hope to be remembered as fondly (if not by using part of my corpse for beverage-holding)


To start with heart touching and a wonderful write up allieeby

Success starts from a fragment, fragments combine into a block and blocks combine into a foundation. A solid foundation is built on top of small fragments like us, so does 'IT' we are part of it and we are those fragments

Even the toughest problem could be solved, provided we break it into fragments and start working on those areas accordingly ......

Level 9

"The ones who bring fragments of their life experience into work each day".  -Allie Eby

Loved that line, I always believe when the big moments in your life happen.  I always think of the fragments that made it possible and how that moment came to be.


In my Network job, I hear "fragment" and think of it as the verb representing a part of a network frame or packet that didn't arrive in a useful form because it was broken for various reasons.  And "fragmented" always first occurs in my mind as part of that network issue, and as the past tense of "fragment."  A bad network connection may have many fragmented packets received on an interface.  The fragmenting might be caused by speed/duplex mismatches and collisions due to timing issues like having an Ethernet cable longer than specifications allow.

Fragment isn't always a verb to everyone, as it is to me.  Instead of a verb, it's usually a noun.  "Might I have that last fragment of cherry pie?"  (Which sends me off on the tangent of L.P.S.--"Last Piece Syndrome", where politely empathic people are too considerate to eat the last piece of anything at a group meal, but let me get away from my chronic "Minnesota Nice" syndrome, and get back onto topic!)

Fragmented packets aren't necessarily bad.  Fragmenting was actually designed into IP networking to accommodate links whose Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU) setting is smaller than can accommodate the original packet's size.


Many times I've received requests to support Jumbo packets across my entire network, usually when a Big Iron System Administrator learns that Jumbo's allow more data throughput between servers.  Their logic dictates that "If it's good between servers, it MUST be GREAT between server and end client devices!"  It turns out that's not the case.  Making it BE compatible with end PC's and smartphones and Thin Clients is not always within the realms of budget or compatibility.  Virtually all the end-user devices in my network cannot handle Jumbo packets, therefore we do not invest in switches/routers/firewalls that support Jumbos on end devices' ports.

Moving to technology that supports Jumbo MTU's would mean replacing 50,000 switch ports, upgrading WAN circuits, replacing many firewalls, etc.  And then we'd also have to replace the PC's, thin clients, Access Points, etc. that use those ports.

So we encourage the SysAdmins to use Jumbos solely within the data centers, and then only on traffic that can benefit from it.  If a flow consists slowly of tiny fragments, forcing Jumbos onto that flow can actually reduce throughput while increasing server/NIC overhead resource strain.

All in all, I think I'd rather spend more time overcoming my politeness and asking for that last fragment of cherry pie.

Level 10

That time has come to look at our fragmented lives and clean up shop. So before the year is out run the following defragmentation process:

1. Throw out all non-essential systems including: Social Media, people in your life who are just downers.

2. Limit work to essential processes only. Remember, even though work provides the funding for your priorities, it isn't a priority in itself.

3. Dump all other non-essential tasks.

Now focus on what you have left: Family and true friends.

Once you do this, you will find your life is no longer fragmented, but it is complete.

Level 9

Reminds me of my old boss who wrote every sentence in fragments or one long run on sentence.

Level 9

There are days I wish I could defrag my brain too mtgilmore1

Level 9

It can cause my heart to race when I think about how small a fragment our world makes up. Whether talking about physical or when speaking about time. Our existence is less than 1% of time as a whole. Our planet is a spec in a galaxy that is a spec of the known universe.

Level 11

Image result for fragment

Level 14

Fragments are puzzle pieces in a very large jig saw puzzle. Whether it is IT or life itself. By themselves, they aren't much, but they when they are put together, they begin to take shape into a recognizable pattern or image. They are part of the whole and reliant on each other. Gee.... isn't that humanity?

Level 12

I used to be memorized watching this. Such a feeling of cleaning and order. Like watching someone organize your bookshelf but on a totally different level.


Level 12

Putting bit n pieces together till they fall in place

Interesting approach to the word fragment.I guess we all do interact with a fragment of each other's lives.

My concept of fragment is that in life the majority of us appear to be JOAD's (Jack of All Trade's) instead of SME's in specialized areas. Working, relationships, parenting, taxes, home & auto ownership, investing, travelling, computers, sports, health & diet, and so on. We believe to live rich fulfilling lives our experiences should be broad and diverse. The blow-back effect to this approach is that our lives become fragmented. We desperately try to keep up with all of the "To Do's", errands, appointments, schedules, etc. to meet these expectations. Is this rush-rush really living? That debate is for another day.

For those of us who live like that our "End In Mind" is synchronization. To have all these little pieces flow harmoniously into one self-perpetuating process with ample time to relax and do the things we really (thus continuing the cycle). The smart ones realize that there is no perfect balance, but as Vince Lombardi once said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”

So life remains fragmented and the days fly by filled with activity. Life is filled with little and medium-sized victories and many times we don't take the time to smell the roses because we are focused on the next goal. And more fragments occur.

Level 12

I remember the days of defragmenting my hard drives. I remember how long it took to do them when they got bigger and bigger. Now my desktop is all SSD and no longer needs to be defragmented. Fragments reduce efficiency. My memory is a great example of this. I can barely remember the entirety of a day anymore let along specific details. All I have are fragments.

What causes a fragment?

Dropping a glass?

Moving data around on a hard disk?

Breaking a promise?

There are lots of fragments in our lives...some of our own making.  Think about what is important.

Handle fragile things with care.

Write programs to efficiently use storage.

Honor relationships.

A powerful analogy I like to share is Go to a city dump and look at everything that has been thrown away.  Somewhere in the pile of debris is something that at one time was so important that a friendship was lost, a marriage was broken or a family tree broken, but here years removed that item lays in a dump pile to waste into nothing.


I equate memories to be a large number of fragments from your past. Sometimes it is difficult to bring them the forefront of your mind and at other time these fragments hit you out of the blue. The most odd memory fragment is when I hear the theme tune to Match of the Day (a British TV programme with the highlights of the Saturday games) I can taste chinese takeaway food. The reason; growing up MoTD was what my Dad came home to in the evening EVERY Saturday, with a takeaway in his hands which has just etched this into my brain and taste buds.

allieeby​ Nicely written. I don't think of the connections made through social media as fragments. To me that even seems to big a connection. I guess that depends on the media and the conversation. I see it a tiny snippets into a thought or perspective. Many times I have answered back with more questions and a larger conversation, only to find that I have upset the re-tweeter or the sharer. I often respond with, well if that isn't an idea you espouse or think is important enough to discuss, then why are you putting it in front of me. Don't get me wrong, social media is great for brief show of support when a friend or associate needs a pick me up. If they want to bounce an idea off a different set of people not physically in their presences. Or to commiserate about a #CaseOfTheMondays. Those small pieces of conversation can help make us feel connected to others and perhaps not so alone in our situation. Yet as tinmann0715​ discussed too many platforms can pull you away from the rest of what is meaningful and satisfying. It never coalesces into a harmonious thread or thought. All things in moderation, small fragments sometime and two hour dinner conversations another. It all works together.

P.S. A fragment that really annoys me is the pieces of peoples lives they share when talking on their cell phones "anywhere." I really didn't need to hear that about you, seriously! The worst though is when the do it at a live theater performance talking to the person next them them. There are so many times I want to scream at the top of my lungs "You know everyone doesn't need to hear about your prostate problems!" I never to it, but those are fragments I can do without!

m_roberts​ It is interesting to listen to reports about memory research about how the fragments can recreated into stories. That those fragments themselves my not reflect the complete reality of what happened. We have no choice but to accept them as true of course as it would drive us insane otherwise. Memories that are tied to multiple sensory inputs are extremely interesting as those fragments can be triggered into consciousness be anyone of the senses and for a moment transport you back to a different place and time, if only for a second or two.

Level 10

At times my team seems to fragment. Today however we all did well.

Level 12

Fragment is another word that can pertain to life, IT, or just verbiage.

Level 10

I am persuaded that every time a man smiles -

but much more so when he laughs -

it adds something to this fragment of life.

- Laurence Sterne


I remember running the defrag tool many years ago and seeing all of the blocks line up. I haven't seen anything like that in years!

Mee too. Stuff like that really fueled my OCD into overdrive!  🙂

Level 9

I tried looking for a Carl Sagan quote about how as humans we can only see things within a limited scope, and we end up missing things that are too big or too small, but I couldn't find it. This isn't necessarily a fault, just a result of our environment and that there really hasn't been an evolutionary need to see things beyond that limited scope, but we do end up with a understanding that is limited, either by focusing on the fragments and missing the whole, or ignoring the parts.

Level 15

nice write-up! i may be biased, but I ❤️ the SW tweeterings more than I should I think

for some reason, this reminded me of a class I took in college on Environmental Psychology. These days, there's a few different strands to that rope, but it all started in the 60's with the research of Robert G. Barker. (Who, admittedly, branched his theory from the work of James Gibson and Evolutionary Psychology...)

The main premise of the theory is that human behavior is extremely situational and that a vast majority of our judgments on others' motivations is based on fragments of data. For example; when another driver runs a stop sign, it is in our nature to immediately blame the action on the other driver's personality (that fella sure is a jerk), when the true motivation behind that decision could just as well have been a medical emergency that we were unaware of in our analysis.

tl;dr - without mindfulness of it happening, we are predisposed to analyze others based on the fragmented data presented to us. we should be careful to not make these snap judgments without offering ourselves further perspective and alternative theories. in our everyday personal interactions, maybe we should just talk to people more about things instead of making (and holding on to) judgments that could be completely inaccurate.

Level 14

A fragment is a small piece of something bigger.  Sometimes it might be words and letters, sometimes it might be from a bullet.  Both can be quite damaging.

Level 11

Working with the person who cares the most.

Yes. It's such a difference working with someone when they are truly invested in the outcome and goal - as opposed to getting fragments of hard work!

Level 21

I had this exact same thought as I used to do the exact same thing when I first got a computer. I found the concept of fragmentation and defragmentation to be an amazing thing and I loved watching it.  This system I had was a Packard Bell 486 SX and is what ultimately launched me into a career working with computers; you can actually find the rather funny story HERE (thanks to SolarWinds!).

I love everything about where social media is at. I mean the fragments of who you are that come through, the parts you don't what to show, etc. Then you get to the fun of people creating personalities and impersonations like trump impersonations or @god twitter accounts, and the entertainment is great. I want to give the solarwinds social media team a major, major thumbs up for being one of the few groups that understands that the community *does* matter, and didn't respond to it by shutting down/filtering everything. That legal doesn't shut you guys down between employees and customers is crucial. Connecting with your fans is such a big deal, and it's a part of what techdirt (a site I enjoy greatly) talks about in plain terms. Joss Whedon Shows How Being Awesome Rewards Creators | Techdirt  and the impact of what this creates is the kind of social media that makes things worthwhile.

(PS: Jive platform works but I'd be lying if I didn't say it is still kinda sucky. lol)

Level 10

Fragments are.  Incomplete sentences.  And thoughts. 

Level 18

Regardless of your cultural background or upbringing, you've probably seen this in a movie or TV show: the bride and groom stand under a canopy, say their vows, share a sip of wine from a single glass. Then the glass is wrapped in a napkin, placed on the floor, and the groom energetically stamps his foot on it, shattering the glass to shouts of "Mazel Tov" from the gathered crowd.

We've seen it. We know that somehow shattering a glass indicates the ceremony is completed and the couple is married, but do we understand what happened? How do those fragments of glass add up to married union?

First and foremost, the glass is represents the Temple that stood in Jerusalem in ancient times, and was destroyed. Into every celebration, we acknowledge there is is a touch of sadness, and echo of the pain experienced millenia ag, which still colors our experiences. You see the same idea replicated in some homes which, no matter how beautifully appointed, have something prominently and obviously broken. It's an acknowledgement that, as long as the Temple is destroyed, the world is not complete.

But here in 2017, it may be difficult to feel a connection to an edifice that existed so long ago and (for most of us) so far away. Moreover, if we don't feel inspired by the things that building represented - a vibrant, visceral, daily connection to the creative force of the universe - it's even less compelling.

But there's (at least) one additional reason for the glass fragments. It is said that we each do not have a complete soul, that we only carry a part with us. Once in a different place we were complete, but we were fragmented and placed in the vessel we call our body. Incomplete, we wander this world seeking the soul that vibrates at our unique frequency. Our "other half".

In marriage we celebrate the fact that we've found it. That no matter how broken we were, in this union we're made whole again. And not just whole, but closer than we were before - more aware of the blessing of not being broken any longer. Stronger. Grateful.

The fragments of the glass remind us that there is joy even in broken-ness, because we see that it can be fixed.

We celebrate, in the words of Leonard Cohen,

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything

That's how the light gets in

Does it make a difference is the packet is fragmented by the man or the woman?  I like moving towards a more equal environment (without violating any rules), and I like a competent spouse!  Can she be the one to break the goblet, or is that a no-no?  Maybe BOTH people break it? 

I've only been to one goblet-breaking wedding ceremony.  It was back in the 1980's, and the bride wasn't invited to partake in the breaking process.  I guess fragmenting is solely the guy's responsibility?

Level 18

Good questions, which get the heart of the symbolism of the ceremony. The canopy (chuppah) represents the man's house, because talmudic advice to the man is: learn a trade, get a job, build a house, then get married. SO... whether it's an accurate representation of modern life, we continue the imagery to show honor to that textual source. Since groom is inviting the woman into "his" space, he breaks the glass to show it's a willing expression (of them both), not her taking "his" things and destroying them.

At a deeper level, the Temple was operated predominantly by men. The relationship (with God) was broken by them, and therefore the need for a reminder falls on them.

Layers upon layers upon layers...

Wow.  It's just not yet a good world in which to challenge faith or religion, hoping to see if there are changes that can be made that result in improvements for everyone.  I like a LOT about religion.  Some parts . . . not as much as others.


I particularly like the concept of religion being a framework for how to get along with other people.  Once we can treat each other equally, and treat each other kindly, we're on the path to achieving more happiness for everyone, including ourselves.

The other parts of religions that may teach prejudice, or that may pass down traditions negative to other people or groups of people . . . I'd be OK if those parts went away.

Thank you for explaining the chuppah and the traditions!  It's interesting to imagine cultures and worlds where some traditions and teachings and feelings are handed down to the benefit of the next generations, while some are not handed down--also to the benefit of the next generations.  ;^)

I'm happy you're a contributor, Leon--you're an expert, and you totally come across as deep and thoughtful, kind and patient, and open-minded while being firm.  You follow best and right paths, you avoid other paths, but show you're willing to learn and improve yourself.  Not to mention your other interests, which make you a real renaissance man!

What more can anyone hope for?


We are all created as social creatures. We all have a portion of knowledge, skills, life. Together we accomplish more than alone. To be fragmented is to be human. To be human is to be fragmented. It is when we embrace this that we truly begin to become who we were created to be and can fulfill our purposes as a whole.

Level 9

Pick up the fragments and move on

Level 12

What is the size of the fragmented disk space?. I believe it' just a fragment of your imagination

Level 20

With all the focus on social media... I've spent my entire career (I was in college when the first web browser was created) trying to avoid leaving any footprint on the internet.  I always knew that these fragments being left out there could come back to bite many people.  For this reason I avoid social media.  Most of the accounts I ever had weren't in my name.  The worst thing you can do is install the FB app on a phone... it'll never leave you alone!  I say Uninstall it!

Level 10