Document Type

Capstone Project

Publication Date



Brookings Mountain West

Publisher Location

Las Vegas, Nevada

First page number:


Last page number:



The mass shooting that occurred in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017, left a place infamous for its neon lights in complete and total darkness. In a city that projects an image of the ideal adult playground, tragedy peels back the facade built by advertising agencies and tourism authorities. The world, perhaps for the first time, was able to see the people behind the image of a sinful strip. During the hours following the horrific events that occurred the night of October 1st, the Las Vegas community came together to grieve, heal, and find a path forward. Using the rallying cry ‘Vegas Strong’, residents across the valley made clear that the event would serve as a reminder of the strength of the city. This message of resilience was spread across the microblogging platform, Twitter.

This paper will examine the origin of the hashtag ‘#VegasStrong’ on Twitter as well as the rate at which it was shared in the days following the mass shooting. The role of key influencers in the dissemination of the hashtag is explored. Findings from the study suggest that the widespread use of the tag can be attributed in part to several key influencers who shared tweets with ‘#VegasStrong’ from October 2, 2017, until October 7, 2017. Among the top influencers using the hashtag, there is a notable absence of local government agencies and local officials. I argue that these agencies and individual actors can improve their risk and crisis communications strategy through the early adoption and promotion of a single, unifying hashtag.


#VegasStrong; Tweets; Las Vegas; October 1, 2017


Higher Education | Public Affairs | Public Policy | Social Policy | Urban Studies

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