As the title makes clear, the name of this platform has changed to Boys and Men in Education (BoysMenEducation.com). Its Facebook page has changed to facebook.com/BoysMenEducation, and the new Twitter handle is @BoysMenEd.
This change – which has been a long time coming – will have a better fit with the long-term vision of this platform, help broaden our scope to help us address things we were missing earlier (but not so broad that we lose focus), provide clarity regarding its structure, facilitate developing critical relationships and strategic affiliations, and help people find the resources they need easier and faster.
There are many factors to consider when renaming a platform, with every choice having both upsides and downsides. I have determined that latter are considerably outweighed by the former. There will also be some growing pains and occasional discomfort in transitioning to the new name, and I guarantee you that I will have my fair share.
Please bear with me as we make this transition. I will be redirecting the links on the old site to the new one over the next few days and scouting for broken links, migrating user comments, updating links on social media, and so forth. Please help me by notifying me of any broken links you come across.
It was my not my original intent to change the name so soon after launching AVFMS 2.0, which in itself was an incredible overhaul. But I am actually substantially ahead of schedule in a few critical developments, and I must make this change now to hit the trajectory I am aiming for.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this transition. If you have any generic questions, please comment below, or use the contact form. Thank you for all your support for A Voice for Male Students. I look forward to continuing our work together as Boys and Men in Education!
I’ll outline below several of the key reasons why this change was made, and how it will help.
Fit – no longer just a blog
As I outlined in the launch of AVFMS 2.0, this platform has transitioned beyond just a blog. Its purpose is no longer simply to provide a voice per se, although it still does that. Other platforms focused on blogging excel at reaching a massive audience, regardless as to whether those people are spectators (as they overwhelmingly are) or active movers and shakers throwing their shoulders behind the plow.
This platform focuses on the latter. Like a blacksmith working to provide arms and armor for a massive force, this platform – which now makes extensive use of databases customized to our content – aims to empower those who are out there in the world getting things done. That includes activists on the ground, leaders and staff of various organizations, attorneys, reporters, policymakers, and so forth.
At the end of the day, this platform will become the end-all-be-all clearinghouse for data on boys’ and men’s education issues, period.
Scope – what about male teachers?
Even as I intend to narrow the audience somewhat, I plan to broaden the scope of issues this site addresses just a bit. This site’s former name was A Voice for Male Students, and that doesn’t say much about male teachers, male mentors who act as community advocates, and so forth. The new domain name will remove the “male teachers aren’t welcome” sign (I know I’m being dramatic here, but clear communication matters) from the domain name. Who knows – perhaps even a university administrator may think to write for this site.
Clarity – who does what, again?
Since the founding of AVFMS, there has been some confusion regarding who runs it. Occasionally, various people made the erroneous assumption that AVFM is a parent company of AVFMS – and in rare (and bewildering) cases the other way around.
Officially, both A Voice for Male Students and A Voice for Men are independent organizations. I have enjoyed working with my friends and colleagues at AVFM in accomplishing shared strategic objectives, and I am happy to continue to do that with Boys and Men in Education.
Within a mere two months of A Voice for Male Students’ launch in August of 2013, a Google search of the phrase “male students” returned my website to the very top of the search results. There are at least two ways to interpret that. On the one hand, that would attest to the incredible success of my getting the word out about male students, such that my search rankings beat everyone else talking about male students.
On the other hand, it is all too likely that very few people were searching for that phrase anyway. And if people are searching for info on male students specifically, they are almost never using the word “voice” in their search, which was dead weight in SEO terms.
With the new site name, every blog post will be tagged with the keywords MEN and BOYS and EDUCATION – simple keywords, but exactly what this platform needs, considering the totality of the projects in the works. I predict that there will be a temporary dip in search and website rankings, but that will pass in due time and exceed former search traffic.
A more humanized title
Call it a personal preference, but I have never really liked our URL saying it focuses on “male” students; “male” is something that can be applied to many kinds of species. But we’re talking about humans, and part of the cultural shift that needs to occur is the acknowledgment that men and boys are indeed human.