Walmart’s big Roblox investment, how comms pros are talking about Hurricane Ian and more

Plus: What we do every minute online.

Walmart is entering the metaverse

A retail giant is making a major investment into the virtual world with new Roblox experiences.

Walmart is launching “Walmart Land” and “Universe of Play” which allows children to collect virtual merchandise, play games with toys and characters, earn toys from a blimp go to live concerts and win fashion contests.

“This is another step of reaching our customers in unexpected ways and in the places where they’re spending their time. We are excited to be one of the first major retailers to do this,” William White, chief marketing officer of Walmart U.S., said in a statement.

Walmart has previously tried AI-powered virtual try-on technology, but this marks their first attempt at virtual worlds.

Designed for older kids, Walmart Land features an amusement park with a Walmart-themed Ferris wheel, slides and beaches. A monorail will take players on a tour of the virtual world and players can redeem tokens for virtual merchandise. There is a “House of Style” which features fashion content while “Electric Island” featured pop culture and trivia.

For younger kids, Walmart’s Universe of Play features “PAW Patrol” and toys like L.O.L Surprise!, Magic Mixies, “Jurassic World” dino eggs, and Razor scooters.

What it means: Walmart isn’t the only company on Roblox. Nike has “Nikeland,”  and American Eagle Outfitters and Ralph Lauren are also represented. But Walmart looks to be making the biggest effort with “Walmart Land” and “Universe of Play.” Keep your eyes on this move. Not everyone is comfortable directly marketing to children, but Walmart’s results will impact how other retailers are approaching this space.

Communicating warnings about Hurricane Ian

Weather agencies and local governments are telling Florida residents to evacuate as Hurricane Ian was slated to hit Florida Tuesday and is expected to drop at least 2 to 3 months’ worth of rainfall by Friday.


The last major hurricane to make U.S. landfall was Hurricane Ida in 2021 in Louisiana, while the last major hurricane to make landfall in Florida was Hurricane Michael in 2018, so state and national officials faced a challenge in reminding residents of the best practices.

And with a forecast calling for up to 24 inches in Tampa and West Central Florida, communicators had an important role in sharing safety tips.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis said residents in the area should be prepared to evacuate and asked for additional precautions.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis said residents in the area should be prepared to evacuate.

“Safety is paramount. There is going to be damage.” He said.

National Weather Service director Ken Graham urged residents to heed warnings from local and national officials

On Monday, Disney said they were prepared for Hurricane Ian and to make any necessary changes to the park schedule.


The Orlando International Airport was open Monday, but officials there warned air travelers to be prepared for flight changes.


What it means: Communicating timely messages is critical to the safety of those impacted by natural disasters. This is important from messaging about what’s already known in addition to appropriate statements about best practices about the uncertain next steps of the storm.

Here’s what we’re doing every minute online

Data tracking company Dom just released their 10th annual version of their Data Never Sleeps project and the numbers are staggering.

Their latest reporting indicates that the following actions take place every minute online:

  • YouTube users uploaded 500 hours of video
  • 5.9 million searches happen on Google
  • Twitter users send 347,222 tweets
  • Zoom users log 104,642 hours of online meetings
  •  Snapchat users create 2,430,555 snaps
  • People send 16 million text messages
  • Viewers spend 1 million hours streaming tv and movies
  • Instagram users share 65,972 photos and videos
  • Venmo users send $437,595 worth of payments
  • Shoppers spend $443,000 on Amazon
  • Crypto buyers purchase the equivalent of $90.2 million in cryptocurrency

What it means: These numbers have continued to skyrocket through each year of the study. No communicator should be surprised about the power of online marketing, These are numbers to keep on your back pocket the next time someone suggests otherwise.

New LinkedIn study shows how acquaintances help users find more jobs than close friends

Looking for a job?

A new study suggests your acquaintances will help you more than close friends.

The study, which involved 20 million LinkedIn users, ran between 2015 to 2019 with researchers from LinkedIn, Harvard Business School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The study gave certain users an algorithm that offered different contact recommendations and then analyzed the new jobs that came from the two billion new connections.

“Acquaintances are more valuable sources of job opportunities,” Sinan Aral, an award-winning management and data science professor at MIT and the lead author of the study, said. “We also found that it’s not the weakest ties but moderately weak ties, which are the best.

“The findings help us understand how platform algorithms affect employment opportunities and outcomes and help LinkedIn design their platform to more effectively help its members find jobs and achieve social and economic mobility.”

What it means: When it comes to looking for jobs or buying products, the old adage of relying on your close friends for recommendations doesn’t always work. Researchers are hoping their findings can help strengthen job-seekers on LinkedIn. But these findings can also give communicators a different approach in discovering how people are recommending products to others.

Chris Pugh is a staff writer for PR Daily. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn. Send story ideas to



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