Each week, Padilla’s Insights + Strategy team stands at the intersection of people, culture and brands to bring you five stories that you can read in five minutes.

1. Super Follows

Twitter announces paid Super Follows to let you charge for tweets. Why should you care? With this new feature, users can charge their followers for access to exclusive content such as bonus tweets, access to a community group or newsletter subscription. Twitter also announced the addition of Communities, that mimics Facebook groups and enables users to create or join groups to see more tweets around their interests. If these new features all sound familiar, it’s because they are – as apps are constantly finding ways to monetize their platforms and replicating features that have found success elsewhere. [The Verge]

2. CDC Zombie Preparedness

CDC offers ‘zombie preparedness’ tips in case Nostradamus is right. Why should you care? CDC – our trusted public health COVID-19 resource is also preparing us for zombies? Yes, you heard that right. What started off as a marketing gimmick in 2011 to engage new audiences is still bringing traffic to the CDC website a decade later. The whole point of the campaign was to get the message for preparedness out in general and it seems to have worked as the page was so popular it nearly tripled traffic and crashed its servers. Even though it’s an old campaign, it’s more relevant than ever as we’re living in a time where preparedness is key. [NY Post]

3. Crypto Currency Album

Kings of Leon will be the first band to release an album as an NFT (crypto currency). Why should you care? NFT is a crypto currency that instead of holding money, holds assets like art, tickets and music. The album drop will include three different kinds of tokens – one for the album, one for live-show perks (like lifetime front row seats) and one for exclusive audiovisual art. The band took this unusual route as a way to bring value back to music as NFT allows for maximum creativity and fosters a more personal direct-to-fan relationship. Though Kings of Leon is the first to release their album by way of cryptocurrency, other major musicians and DJ’s have been utilizing NFT as an added revenue stream in the concertless COVID era. [RollingStone]

4. WFH x Fisher-Price

Fisher-Price has turned our remote work hell into a toy. Why should you care? In one of maybe the weirdest products to come out of COVID, Fisher-Price’s ‘My Home Office’ play set includes a fake laptop, headset, latte cup and a pretend phone with four detachable fabric apps for all the different projects your kid will “work” on. The play set originally launched last summer, but is only picking up steam now as Twitter has been pondering, what’s the point of this toy? Writer Rob Walker suggests, “Perhaps part of what kids will learn here — and what I’m willing to bet not a few of them are observing firsthand — is how to totally blow off that spreadsheet, goof around, and enjoy some cute dogs every so often.” [Marker Medium]

5. Microsoft Mesh

Microsoft Mesh feels like the virtual future of Microsoft Teams meetings. Why should you care? Created as a collaborative platform, Mesh allows users to have shared virtual experiences on a range of different devices. Microsoft’s Alex Kipman explains, “You can actually feel like you’re in the same place with someone sharing content or you can teleport from different mixed reality devices and be present with people even when you’re not physically together.” Consider it a more immersive Zoom/Teams meeting that we will happily welcome with open arms after a year of working from home and away from our colleagues. [The Verge]

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