the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

BlogHer ’12

I was dancing at one of those loud, overcrowded parties on Saturday night at the yearly BlogHer Conference, when I ran into Josette. Her lodging plans for the night had fallen through, and she had no place to stay in the city. I invited her to stay in the hotel suite that I was sharing with Sarah. Josette, a woman comfortable with going camping with her family, said she had no problem sleeping on the hotel suite floor.

Around 1AM, Josette and I took a cab to the the hotel. Sarah had just returned herself from a night out. I introduced them to each other. I have known Josette and Sarah for years, but they didn’t know each other.

I was exhausted. I stretched out on the couch, eavesdropping on the women chatting about their husbands, their children, and their career goals. I was amused that two mothers asked each other questions that would have never occurred to me, paticularly about their children.

“Which is the oldest?”
“Do the brothers get along?”
“How does he do in school?”

I smiled as I dozed off; I enjoyed seeing two friends connecting.

This was the fourth BlogHer Conference that I have attended, and this year, my role was more important than usual. I read one of my blog posts to a large crowd on Friday afternoon as part of The Voices of the Year Keynote. I presented a session on blogging with Schmutzie and Laurie. I participated in an Instagram photowalk.  I was a mild celebrity for three days.

But the most iconic moment of the weekend was the sleepy moment of listening to Josette and Sarah chatting about their lives.  To me, even more so than the writing tools, social media, and commerce that we all discussed this weekend, it is these little moments that are the core of blogging, the conversation that continues on even when you are not there.

Nice seeing so many of you.

If you want to see a bit of personal history — on how my views on this conference have matured and changed over the years, from making fun of it like a spoiled brat to embracing and respecting it as an important part of my online life, you can do so here —

BlogHer 2006 – BlogHim 06 and To All My Friends at BlogHer

BlogHer 2007 — BlogHim 07 – Who Needs Women?

BlogHer 2008 —  My Conversation with TLC Marketing Customer Service, The Circle of Life — My Final Mention of BlogHer in 2008, and  Sex in the Male City — In Honor of BlogHim 08

BlogHer 2009 —BlogHer 09 Recap, with Photos and My Last BlogHer 09 Post

BlogHer 2010 —BlogHer 2010

BlogHer 2011 —The Music Conference and BlogHer 11 Recap

BlogHer 2012 — Trucker Bob From Nashville, BlogHer ’12


  1. Jack@TheJackB

    You have become an icon at these things.

  2. sarah piazza

    oh, i liked this very much.

  3. Amy

    What a sweet little post.

  4. Laurie

    I was proud to be on that panel with you and Elan, happy for your reading at Voices of the Year, calm and happy in my own personal moments like you witnessed with Josette and Sarah. I feel grateful for all of it.

    There is a reason why we stick around here. I’m glad you’re my friend.

  5. Josette Plank

    Neil, I tease you at times and sometimes I’m never sure just what you’re getting at in our late night online conversations, but I’ll say one thing: you are a genuinely good person. That’s not trite. Your heart and soul and mind are in exactly the right place, and I know this because everyone I’ve ever met through you – people who are drawn to your writing and personality – has been the same sort of folks. Your are a great reference for friendships, and something about you draws down normal defenses – a neat trick on the internet – and people relax into being themselves. You are a great guy.

    And, no, I’m not drunk right now. Or hitting on you.

  6. Joelle

    It was nice meeting you. 🙂

  7. Redneck Mommy

    It made me happy to see you.

    Of course, if you hadn’t cowered in fear every time I passed by, I’d have been happier, but you know, beggars…choosers…

    See you next time Neil. I’ll be looking for you.

  8. edenland

    Oh I LOVE this.

    Great to hear you read at keynote.

  9. @maggiedammit

    I feel like we got a couple of good solid moments to connect this year, even if lunch fell through, even if all of it was too brief. It didn’t feel rushed, anyway. It seemed like there was something a tiny bit different about you this year, a kind of calmness, and I think it shows in this post. I loved your VOTY reading, I loved your panel, and I loved hanging out. Keep on being you.

  10. Lisa Rae @ smacksy

    This is wonderful. I think it was Marinka that said – the main reason we travel to these conferences from around the country is friendship.
    Nice high-fiving you in the hall, my friend.

  11. sarah gilbert

    I love this post. and it’s true, both what Josette said and what you say: that the most important moments are the bleary-wonderful connecting. I go each year that I go thinking, “oh, I’ll do so much business” and get excited about how I’ll make important connections and then I go home and think, I shouldn’t consider this a business expense at all, because the best part was just talking to those people in this place and meeting kindred spirits and old souls who enrich my life, not just at the conference, not just in their networks I might one day exploit, but in their stories and telling my stories back and the friendships that go on. Even if the sessions lose their relevance to me (and I think the sessions have continued to have the same relevance ever since my first Blogher in 2006: that is: I don’t learn very much technically but enjoy the great conversations IN PERSON that usually I must accept occurring only online), I will always go as long as I am part of that story-telling, that connecting, that friendship-making.

    Josette, it was so great to meet you and Neil, you made a great roommate and connector. And you’re really so-very-helpful! Look how you carried that enormous box for me!

  12. Alma

    So cool to have shared a room with two great ladies. I would not have minded listening to them as well.

  13. Juli

    Congratulations. You’ve come a long way!

  14. Ann

    I hope you feel really proud and celebrated. Your VOTY piece and your delivery were so fantastic–and you just being you on your panel.

  15. the muskrat

    Glad to see you again, and congrats on your reading!

  16. Alexandra

    This sentence right here, “from making fun of it like a spoiled brat to embracing and respecting it as an important part of my online life, ” makes me cry with its honesty.

    So beautiful.

    I really really like knowing you.

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