10 Feb 2015

Linked In On Nantucket

In her romantic ballad “Long Distance,” Grammy award winner Brandy Norwood sings “all I have is this picture in a frame…it’s so hard you’re so far…this long distance is killing me.” Those of us who have a deep rooted connection to Nantucket completely understand the sentiment in these lyrics. Locals appreciate the opportunity to venture off-island, summer residents and guests are glad to return “home” to their every-day routines…but once away from Nantucket we all have an innate need to stay connected to the island and in touch with those friends and loved ones we’ve left behind.

With the creation of so many social media sites in recent years, it’s never been easier to stay linked in with both people and places. Some of us (like me!) had to come kicking and screaming to this new fangled way of communicating. I love the written word and still enjoy finding greeting cards and heartfelt letters in my mailbox. I love a Sunday morning with the NY Times and the Inky Mirror with my morning coffee and prefer a thoughtful post-it note to a text message any day. But, I must admit, I’m learning to love the sense of community and the instant access to others that social media provides. We amass hundreds of new “friends” and locate dozens of old ones on Facebook as we follow along in their daily lives. Twitter and Instagram keep us updated on world affairs and local events, while allowing us to “chat” with our children and friends.

Never was it more reassuring to be connected with our Nantucket community, as well as our off-island friends and neighbors, than during the historic blizzard last week. Juno exceeded all predictions and expectations, hitting our little island broadside for well over 36 hours with wind gusts that surpassed 70 mph and dumped over a foot of snow. By Tuesday morning, an eerie hush came over the island (even as Juno howled) when a substation froze leaving all of Nantucket powerless (literally – in the dark). Cell phone use was spotty depending on the carrier, but it’s the only way most of us stayed connected for the ensuing 20+ hours (some longer than others). In between quick trips to the car to keep the phone batteries charged, Nantucketers took to Twitter and Facebook to post updates, public service announcements, shelter locations and pleas for immediate assistance. And Nantucket people did what they always do in times of need – they bonded together and quickly formulated plans to help their own.

The island is ripe with talented people who keep us linked in. Juno photo galleries from Greg Hinson, Katie Kaizer, Nathan Coe and Cary Hazlegrove amazed us and broke our hearts as their images told the storm story. During other times of the year, Mahon About Town provides photos and a calendar of current island events and The Nantucket blACKbook keeps us up to date on “all things Hip and Fresh” on Nantucket. For a daily update on what’s happening island-wide, you need only sign on to or If you haven’t already taken the plunge, you too can join the social media party and you’ll never be more than a click away from Nantucket.


Shellie Dunlap
Shellie Dunlap - A Nantucket Experience

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