What a difference a hyphen makes: Coworking vs. Co-working


What a difference a hyphen makes! The coworking community is formed by very mindful folks, and the hyphen debate has been an ongoing one since the beginning of the movement. My position in this is that the use of coworking, without the hyphen, benefits us all. In this post, I give you three practical reasons to ditch the hyphen.

The topic of whether coworking has a hyphen has been discussed in a lot of different blogs and discussion boards. Here’s my take:

Why use one word?

The use of a unified brand helps put the word out about the movement, and it’d be great for us all to use the same word, but hey, it’s a free world and each of us is free to call our businesses however we want, right!? Yups. In fact, coworking relates to many other community types that are called differently: Hackerspaces, fab labs, incubators, accelerators, business centers, and even shared flats could be considered, to a certain extent, coworking communities. We need to be able to embrace diversity, and at the same time be able to speak with one voice when it really matters (i.e. when talking with the media or the institutions).

Coworking space

But, is there any real difference?

Co-workers have been used over time to define anyone who works with another; a fellow worker. Skipping the hyphen helps differentiate the two words, as they don’t mean the same to us. Dictionaries and press manuals, as well as most auto-correctors, still only recognize the hyphenated version of the word. But if ‘güisqui’ made it to the dictionary as a Spanish version of ‘whiskey’ I don’t see a problem in trying to catch the attention of the pros.

Enough philosophy – can we get practical?

Internet, baby! Have you noticed what happens when you try to use the #co-working hashtag on Twitter? Meh. It doesn’t work. Do we want to use a word that needs to be modified to be used in a big social media platform?

Trend as per Google Trends for searches using the terms coworking and co-working

Last, but not least, coworking is considerably more popular than co-working on Google searches. Using the right word will help keep your coworking space and your coworking related content well positioned.

Did you enjoy this post? Continue reading about coworking: I wrote a post about flexible plans to attract more members to coworking spaces, another one about coworking in large companies and another one about the benefits of coworking for freelancers.


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