Spaced Out on the Term “Space”

In the past week I’ve been approached by a PR person professing he knows I’m “in the auto space,” read treatises on companies operating in various spaces and seen job descriptions requiring candidates have experience in a specific space. I have now made it my irrevocable practice to put a wide swath of space between me and anyone who uses the word “space” or any other permutations of it instead of an actual word related to the object of their deflection.

Oh yeah, it’s just another one of those obnoxious terms people latch onto such as the most hideous of all, to me, “staying in one’s swim lane.” My reply to that one is always a hale, hearty and utterly sincere, “fuck off!” along with my fervent wishes they will have to ingest their meals through a snorkel. Enjoying that swim lane?

Do people use these terms to seem sharp, superior, in the moment? If so, they come across as arrogant, lazy and ignorant.

The word “space” is not a Scrabble blank. You have to use it, like any other word or term, correctly. I do not work in the auto “space.” I do cover the automotive “beat.” You can also use “industry.” To me, “space” in the automotive context means gaps between body panels on poorly manufactured vehicles. Perhaps the person using “space” related to my beat has a gaping one in their training or preparation.

Companies do not operate in spaces. They operate in various industries, businesses, services or products. Honestly, would you say NASA operates in the space space? If you did you’d be operating in a vacuum.

I’ll keep this short because I’ve made my point ..and I don’t want to unnecessarily take up more than my share of..uh…space. There. I’m done occupying it.

Forbes.com contributor, Integrated Media Consultant, Franco PR, former Head, FCA Digital Media; Former CNN bureau chief/correspondent. Opinions are mine alone.

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Ed Garsten

Ed Garsten

Forbes.com contributor, Integrated Media Consultant, Franco PR, former Head, FCA Digital Media; Former CNN bureau chief/correspondent. Opinions are mine alone.

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