During our last trip to Milan for the Coworking Europe Conference, I had the chance to talk to Tony Bacigalupo who is currently leading Open Coworking about partnering both our associations. Members of both organizations contribute to each other’s efforts to promote coworking around the world. It makes sense to formalize our mutual support.

If you don’t know about Open Coworking you may already be using some of its projects:

If you don’t  know them you should check them all out, signup as a member of the group, include your space in the wiki and the visa, and volunteer to make it even better.

If you don’t know Tony you should. He founded New Work City six years ago, he’s the author of No More Sink Full of Mugs,  and is currently organizing Cotivation, IndieCon Toronto, and The Great Coworking Community Help-A-Thon.

Support coworking by joining both organizations: Open Coworking and European Coworking Assembly.

office nomads logo capitol hill coworking seattleThe email we have sent to the President and CEO of Associated press asking to include coworking without a hyphen in the AP Stylebook has reignited the discussion and a lot of people are reacting with ideas and their own proposals. Jacob Sayles (founder of Office Nomads and Open Coworking) sent an email that his colleague Lauren Grant who did some good research back in 2004 about ways to fight the hyphen: 

Hi All,

I’ve done a little research trying to figure out how we might move forward in trying to persuade the AP to reconsider their position on the co-working vs. coworking issue.  Most of what follows is less of a concrete plan, and more of the background info we would need in deciding where/how to focus our efforts:

  1. Webster’s New World College Dictionary(WNWCD) is the official dictionary for the AP Stylebook. 
  • Interestingly, and importantly, the WNWCD is not published by Merriam Webster, but by Houghton Mifflin.
  • There will be differences, then, between WNWCD’s and Meriam-Webster’s treatment of terms.
  • So, if we want to begin by getting coworking into a dictionary, it seems like focusing our attention on the WNWCD would be best.
  • BUT…. The AP’s rules of spelling, grammar, etc. don’t always match the WNWCD.

–       For example, the AP spells email without a hyphen, while WNWCD’s primary definition retains the hyphen.

  • So, if WNWCD adds coworking to their dictionary it wouldn’t necessarily result in a change in the AP’s approach to spelling co-working.

–       Although the AP Stylebooks’s values are listed as consistency, clarity, accuracy, and brevity, they definitely seem to be privileging consistency in their continued use of co-working.  (We’ve always spelled it this way and will continue to do so…)

  • Finally, the WNWCD just issued its first print revision in decades on August 26.  I am guessing that another print edition will not come out for some time.  We might lobby for the addition of coworking now, but it would be a while before we saw the change in print.

–       The online version of WNWCD probably publishes updates more regularly, but I can’t view their editorial policy without a subscription.

  1. If we want to argue with the editor(s) at the AP Stylebook directly, we will need a subscription.
  • As far as I can tell only subscribers can submit questions to the editor and view the complete archive of past Q and As to the editor.

–  A yearly subscription to the AP Style Guide is $26.

  1. Why does the New York Times use “coworking” when speaking of the Coworking Visa, but not in other cases, as Jacob mentioned in his post?
  • Although the New York Timesuses the WNWCD, they have their very own style guide that conflicts with the AP’s style guide on many points
  1. So, what are our options?
  • We can work to have coworking included in various dictionaries.This may not impact the AP Stylebook, but it would contribute to making the distinction between co-working and coworking clearer and bring general awareness to the issue.

–       I would be happy to do some research on how different dictionaries treat address the issue of co-working v. coworking if at all, and what the editorial policies are for adding/amending entries.

  • Tweet our discontent

–       As Carsten Foertsch suggested in his article for deskmag:  @APStylebook #Coworking is not Co-working.  It’s an independent movement that doesn’t want to be separated by a hyphen!

–       This was suggested in 2011, however, and there hasn’t been much activity since.  Do we want to revitalize this? Perhaps come up with a new hashtag?

–      Does anyone have other ideas?

Hopefully this info will be useful when deciding what steps to take next!

Lauren M Grant

What will you do to bring #deathtothehyphen? 

I’ve just sent this letter to the President and CEO of Associated Press, Gary Pruitt, to promote a change in their style book, which is used by a majority of English speaking journalists around the world. If you want to see change happening add your signature in the comments, write to the AP yourself and also to other associations, media and software makers that keep on pushing for the use of the “-“. Be polite and take action!

To: Gary Pruitt, President and CEO Associated Press

Dear Mr. Pruitt,

As President of the European Coworking Assembly I would like to ask you if it would be possible to make a small change in the Associated Press Stylebook. It would help the coworking industry a lot to be well referred to in the media and to help the public differentiate between two different but related things: coworking and co-working. Journalists around the world use the AP Stylebook as their main reference and keep on wrongly referring to our businesses with a “-“.

The change we are asking for is to use coworking to refer to coworking spaces and businesses and co-working for the act of working together in the same company. Associated Press is full of co-workers hired by it, but in coworking spaces you find independent professionals, entrepreneurs and teleworkers that work for themselves or their companies but not alone: they are coworkers because the work in the same coworking space.

The coworking industry is newly born, we’ve been around since 2005, and we are growing rapidly. Until February 2015 we’d grown by 81% to 4380 spaces in the world, hosting over 200.000 coworkers. And the numbers keep on growing every year at a similar pace. It reflects the change in global working trends to a more flexible and independent workforce that needs a professional environment and network to thrive.

Looking forward to your answer and to extend this conversation at your convenience.

Best regards,

Ramon Suarez
President European Coworking Assembly
Founder & Serendipity Accelerator at Betacowork Coworking Brussels

Thanks Peter !This is just a short note to thank Peter Schreck for having given us the Twitter account we now use for the Assembly. Peter created the handle and grew it up to more than 500 followers. We changed names from the original @coworkingeu to @coassemblyeu to make sure that it was not mistaken with the one of Coworking Europe Conference. You can follow Peter on @idearepublic.

Thank you Peter!

RamonHello everyone. My name is Ramon Suarez and I’ve been elected as the new President of the European Coworking Assembly. I’m taking over the lead after Jean-Yves Huwart, who has led the Assembly through its initial steps together with the rest of the team. You may know me as the founder of Betacowork Coworking Brussels and author of The Coworking Handbook, speaker at the different coworking conferences, and many other things.

If you have not heard about the Assembly yet don’t worry, it is normal. We have been quietly working on it, trying to figure out what to do and how to. Now we have decided to expose ourselves and bring this initiative to the public.

The purpose of the European Coworking Assembly is to work with coworking spaces and policy makers to promote coworking businesses, activities and interests in the European Union. To support this I’m going to focus in these four areas during my first year as President:

  • Drafting the new statutes, to make it clear to understand who can join, how, what they can do and what they can expect.
  • Open up membership to all coworking spaces in Europe.
  • Raise funds, in form of memberships and other sources.
  • Organize the next General Assembly coinciding with Coworking Europe Conference 2016.

There are also a few initiatives that we are discussing to bring attention to coworking and the issues that we have to face as businesses.

If you have any questions of suggestions leave a comment or contact me via the contact form or Twitter (@ramonsuarez).

I’m really looking forward to this :)