Shakespeare and the Players

"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players", according to Shakespeare, who was born 450 years ago this year. With or without the "merely", the great English playwright seems to understand something about social media and all the communications options now available to us.
In modern English, "players" is often used quite formally to describe the people involved in a business event or situation (e.g. a negotiation, a product launch or a legal case). It doesn't always sound quite right when referring to serious matters, but "playing a role" is normal usage.
There are other words we can use, with various meanings:
- actors (also sounds like theatre and suggests something unreal)
- protagonists (a big word, not so common and suggests competition)
- participants (quite specific, but fine to refer to a TB-E programme)
- stakeholders (quite broad and imprecise)
- [interested] parties (quite formal, can suggest an agenda and may be seen negatively)

So - guess what - a lot still depends on context. Shakespeare, whose profile is constantly being updated by other people, had plenty to say about that as well.


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