My first trip to Vegas was a one-night stopover on my way to a backpacking trip in Zion NP. Walking through a hotel casino at 8am the next day, an older lady in front of me vomited on the floor and then passed out. That was my first impression of Vegas and I’ve hated the city ever since.
Needless to say, I wasn’t thrilled to hear that the NIRSA conference this year was in Vegas. I didn’t want to go. But since I’ve had the chance to spend a few days here, I have found that Vegas isn’t all “Sin City”; in fact, it’s pretty cool. The hotels are wonders to behold with their themes from around the world. My room on the 11th floor of the Paris Las Vegas has a view of the Eiffel Tower. And the water show at the Bellagio, choreographed to an operatic aria, was so beautiful it made me want to cry.
Twitter reminds me of Vegas.
When I joined Twitter back in 2008, I found I didn’t like it at all, thinking it was nothing more than mindless social media drivel that could at times include some pretty raunchy stuff. People I didn’t know we’re asking to “follow” me, and their profile photos showed provocatively dressed women who looked like they came straight off a Vegas street hustler’s card. But when I gave Twitter another chance in 2012, I found the good in it. I found a community of smart, thoughtful professionals who were willing to share their expertise in higher education and revel in successes of others. It is such a godsend to have found a community like this who I can turn to on a daily basis for professional development. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry.
So I’ll come away from Vegas with kinder thoughts of the city. I see it differently now, and will look forward to visiting again sometime. And for my colleagues who cannot see the value in using Twitter, I will gently encourage them (and show them how) to give it a second look. Because sometimes that second look can make all the difference.