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:

  1. 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, usinas, incubators, accelerators, business centers, and even shared flats could be considered, to 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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 – and my favorite one? And I also have some figures for you: Coworking, has been used in twitter over 14k times in the last 30 days – compare it to the 5.7k times ‘co-working’ has been used at the same time and pick your team – union makes strength!

Wanna talk about coworking and hyphens?

I started then as a customer service representative for Regus and was then part of their centralization of administrative services and a large automatization from 2009. After 5 years with Regus I moved to Berlin and worked at Cobot, the software management tool, from the coworking space we run, co.up.

On the side, I fell in love with the coworking community, led the coworking wiki project and spoke at coworking conferences in 2012-2014.

Today I travel often and when I don’t, I happily work from my cozy home office, but most of my team at The Neon Project work out of a coworking space in Cordoba, Spain.

You can get in touch at hola@cristinasantamarina.com if you want to ask me any questions. I would happily answer any questions you may have about coworking, even if I am not directly involved in the community anymore.

6 thoughts on “What a difference a hyphen makes: Coworking vs. Co-working

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