LIVE SPEECH AUDIO: Using Digital Media to Save Lives

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At the 2018 Students for Life of America Conference, Timothy Brahm gave a never-before-heard speech on social media dialogue. After the presentation, Tim answered some questions from the audience along with Josh Tijerina from Halcyon, another social media presenter at the conference who presented before Tim did. Below are listed some of the different points that he makes in the speech, in case you would like to jump around:

Problems with Conversations on Social Media:

  • 2:27: When people are in fight mode, they can’t hear you. It is not just about the arguments.
  • 3:43: Social media conversations are extra challenging because they are public, not private
  • 4:33: Social media breeds hypersensitivity to our own brand management.
  • 6:07: The structure of comment threads work against you.
  • 7:12: The “like” system influences how causal observers perceive your writing through an unfair filter.
  • 8:15: People on social media are almost immune from normal social pressures.
  • 10:07: Recent political hostility has conditioned people to be angry online.
  • 11:03: Social media is structured as an engine for constant outrage.

16 Tips for Social Media Dialogue:

  • 16:08: Move your conversation to private message, Skype, or in person as soon as possible.
  • 17:06: Make minimal persuasion goals.
  • 18:00: Be aware of the lack of nonverbal communication.
  • 18:34: Post things with your pro-choice friends in mind.
  • 19:22: Try hard to assume the best about people.
  • 19:34: Take a step back if you’re feeling defensive.
  • 19:57: Point out every piece of common ground.
  • 20:14: Try to only use neutral language.
  • 20:31: Ask lots of clarification questions, make few statements and arguments. Try to wait to do so until the conversation is one-on-one.
  • 20:48: Choose a friendly looking profile picture.
  • 21:17: Don’t name-drop philosophers or logical fallacies.
  • 21:36: Don’t feed the trolls.
  • 22:08: Use links very sparingly.
  • 22:28: Only cite neutral sources. Do not link to pro-life websites.
  • 22:36: Point out when they teach you something.
  • 23:18: Sow intentional, positive seeds with people who you hope to dialogue with someday.

Q and A with Tim Brahm and the other presenter who spoke before him, Josh Tijerina:

  • 25:25: “When is the appropriate time to use snark in dialogues?”
  • 26:39: “In regards to your point about liking pro-choice friend’s comments when you think they are being charitable or gracious in dialogue, do you think that could be misinterpreted or come off as strange to your pro-life friends?”
  • 28:01: “Have you done any studies on the effectiveness of graphic abortion images on social media?”
  • 30:01: “In tip number four, you suggest we post on social media with our pro-choice friends in mind. I am a Christian and this influences my pro-life view, so sometimes I post Christian things or bible verses. What do you think about this?”

Related Links:

Subscribe to the Equipped for Life Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Subscribe to ERI’s other podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.


Josh Brahm is the President of Equal Rights Institute, an organization that trains pro-life advocates to think clearly, reason honestly and argue persuasively.

Josh has worked in the pro-life movement since he was 18. A sought-after speaker, Josh has spoken for more than 23,000 people in six countries and in 22 of the 50 states.

Josh’s primary passion is helping pro-life people to be more persuasive when they communicate with pro-choice people. That means ditching faulty rhetoric and tactics and embracing arguments that hold up under philosophical scrutiny.

He has publicly debated leaders from Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), Georgians for Choice, and one of the leading abortion facilities in Atlanta.

Josh also wants to bring relational apologetics to the pro-life movement. “Some pro-choice people will not change their mind after one conversation on a college campus. Some of them will only change their mind after dozens of conversations with a person they trust in the context of friendship.”

Josh is formerly the host of a globally-heard podcast turned radio/TV show, Life Report. He now hosts the Equipped for Life Podcast. He’s also written dozens of articles for and the ERI blog.

He directed the first 40 Days for Life campaign in Fresno, resulting in up to 60 lives saved.

Josh has been happily married to his wife, Hannah, for 15 years. They have three sons, Noah, William, and Eli. They live in Charlotte, North Carolina.

David Bereit, the National Director of 40 Days for Life, sums up Josh’s expertise this way: “Josh Brahm is one of the brightest, most articulate, and innovative people in the pro-life movement. His cutting-edge work is helping people think more clearly, communicate more effectively, and — most importantly — be better ambassadors for Christ. I wholeheartedly endorse Josh’s work, and I encourage you to join me in following Josh and getting involved in his work today!”

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