2020年6月18日 星期四

Today’s Activism: Spontaneous, Leaderless, but Not Without Aim 沒單一領導人卻迅速聚人潮 社群媒體成現代抗爭最強領袖

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2020/06/26 第308期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
紐時周報精選 Today's Activism: Spontaneous, Leaderless, but Not Without Aim 沒單一領導人卻迅速聚人潮 社群媒體成現代抗爭最強領袖
Is a Pandemic the Right Time to Start a Business? It Just Might Be 危機即轉機 疫情催生創業潮
Today's Activism: Spontaneous, Leaderless, but Not Without Aim 沒單一領導人卻迅速聚人潮 社群媒體成現代抗爭最強領袖
文/John Eligon and Kimiko de Fr
譯/陳韋廷 核稿/樂慧生

社群媒體 現代抗爭者最強領袖

In the sea of hundreds of protesters who gathered one evening near the intersection where George Floyd was killed, a lone voice rose from the crowd."Everybody sit down," it urgently ordered.Others chimed in — "Sit down! Sit down!" — scolding those, even journalists, who were slow to comply.


A few minutes later, Tony Clark, wearing a black face mask and an earring with the inscription "Not today Satan," bounded toward the center of the circle of seated bodies and took the megaphone."Everybody stand up," he commanded, contradicting the earlier speaker's instructions.The crowd rose.


"The moment y'all sit down, the moment they're going to step on y'all," Clark, 27, said to rousing applause. But a half-hour later, he reversed his stance and told everyone to sit down again.


"Stop barking orders," said Davi Young, a Marine veteran, twisting his face. "You're not the police."


Welcome to 21st-century activism, where spontaneous and leaderless movements have been defined by their organic births and guided on the fly by people whose preferences, motivations and ideas may not always align.


But the absence of organized leadership does not mean the movements — from the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter — are rudderless.


Leveraging technology that was unavailable to earlier generations, the activists of today have a digital playbook. Often, it begins with an injustice captured on video and posted to social media. Demonstrations are hastily arranged, hashtags are created and before long, thousands have joined the cause.


At the core is an egalitarian spirit, a belief that everyone has a voice, and that everyone's voice matters.


But leaderless movements have their challenges.It can be difficult to keep protests from spilling out of control, and difficult to maintain a clear and focused message. Disputes over the best strategies can easily emerge.


These days, social media is the strongest, most prominent leader. Young activists announce the location of an action or protest on Twitter or Instagram, and within an hour, scores of people are there.


"I think it kind of does make it hard to manage because you don't know who's coming," said Maryan Farasle, a 17-year-old high school senior who lives in the Minneapolis suburbs and is an activist organizer. "You don't know the people showing up and what their intentions are."But at the same time, she added, "I think it is a way to get a lot of people together quickly."


But today's young activists also avoid singular leaders. "We've seen what happens to people in the past when they're the lead of anything," Farasle said, referring to civil rights leaders who have been slain.


Is a Pandemic the Right Time to Start a Business? It Just Might Be 危機即轉機 疫情催生創業潮
文/Amy Haimerl

危機即轉機 疫情催生創業潮

In March, as small businesses across the country were shutting down amid the spreading coronavirus pandemic, Shanel Fields was about to open one up.


For Fields, the timing couldn't have been better. Her company, MD Ally, allows 911 dispatchers and other responders to route nonemergency calls and patients to virtual doctors, to help local governments improve their emergency response systems.

對費爾茲來說,時機可再好不過了。她的公司名叫MD Ally,能協助911緊急求救電話的調度員和其他救難人員,將非緊急電話和病人轉給虛擬醫生,從而幫助地方政府改善他們的緊急救難反應系統。

She's not alone: New businesses are forming despite the pandemic.


Past downturns produced some high-profile U.S. companies: Airbnb, Disney, General Motors, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Slack, Uber and Venmo, to name a few.


"Downturns or challenging times are seen as good times to start a business for two reasons," said Rashmi Menon, entrepreneur in residence at the University of Michigan's Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. "One is, there is less competition for resources. The second reason is that whatever changes we face, positive or negative, bring up new customer needs. And customer needs are at the core of any business."


For Fields, opening now meant greater access to top talent. She hired her fourth employee and said more than 200 qualified applicants had submitted resumes. And being in the health care sector during a pandemic has raised her profile with funders and governments: MD Ally, which is based in Philadelphia, recently signed its first customer and closed its first round of investment worth $1 million.

對費爾茲而言,現在創業意味著更容易接觸到頂尖人才。她雇用了第四位員工,並表示有200多名符合資格的申請者提交履歷。在疫病大流行期間投入醫療領域,提高了她在投資金主與政府眼中的分量。總部位於費城的MD Ally最近簽下了第一個客戶,並已完成第一輪價值100萬美元的募資。

For others, the timing can mean low interest rates for borrowing startup capital, cheaper equipment as businesses sell off inventory or lower lease rates as landlords scramble to fill empty spaces.


"There are going to be industries that are winners, and others that are going to be losers," said David Brown, who co-founded the startup accelerator Techstars during the 2008 recession. "I probably wouldn't want to be in a business right now that caters to business travelers, but I'd love to be in a business that helps enable telemedicine."


Determining what customers need now, rather than before the pandemic, is crucial. Menon and Brown see opportunity in offering solutions to the challenges that people now face: educating their children, working from home, managing supply chains, getting a haircut or the house cleaned, seeing doctors and therapists, entertaining themselves. Even new restaurants might be successful if they consider the future of customer service rather than recreate old systems.


"If you can find innovative ways for people to feed themselves right now, that might make sense," Menon said. "You just have to address a need."



Airbnb與Uber等明星企業均在金融危機期間創立,它們的成功意味著經濟衰退時期似乎為創業的良機,第四段單字downturn指的就是經濟衰退(economic recession),為財經新聞常見單字,複合形容詞high-profile則在文中譯為「引人注目的」,非「高調、高規格」之意,反義詞則是low-profile。

entrepreneur一字來自法語,意指「創業家、企業家」,形容詞為entrepreneurial,entrepreneurship指「創業精神、企業家精神」。另外,enterprise代表「企業、公司」,常指剛起步的中小企業(small and medium enterprise,簡稱SME),startup(新創公司)就是其中一分子。

動詞片語start a business即指「創業」,意思跟文中首段表示「歇業」的shut down相反,又「封鎖、關閉」則是後者其他常見意思。至於to name a few則用在舉例時,常出現在句末,其中name在此作「舉出」解。

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