An online notebook

On January 25, 2023, Blogpocket turned 22 years old. But why and how was Blogpocket created, one of the first blogs in Spain?

It all started as a result of the publication of an article by the novelist (and also a pioneer of blogs) Ramon Buenaventura in the Sunday supplement El Semanal.

In the year 2000 I participated in a computer forum managed by Ramón Buenaventura called SidiDonSidi. Ramón Buenaventura is a writer, poet, novelist and literary translator who, at that time, published -and since 1997- a column in the Sunday newspaper “El Semanal”, which I read and also collected; partly because I knew him from the forum and, mainly, because his articles taught many things about an incipient Internet, of which I was unaware of almost everything.

The pages of the Internet column that Ramón Buenaventura published around the year 2000 in El Semanal.

1_f82xq-cvqtbVllh-Mf-Ncw-1024x768 An online notebook
The pages of the Internet column that Ramón Buenaventura published around the year 2000 in El Semanal.

I still have a few of the pages that Ramón Buenaventura published in “El Semanal” (see image preceding these lines).

One of those weeks, Ramon Buenaventura wrote about the “cuaderno en Internet” or weblog; term, the latter, with which an absolutely unknown tool in Spain at that time was beginning to be known. “Weblog” gave rise, shortly after, to the word “blog” that most of us have used to refer to a web page that presents a succession of articles in reverse chronological order. And there was also an attempt to use “blog”. The next day, I opened my weblog in the online application -which was bought by Google in 2003- called Blogger.

And there it all began. Shortly after, I programmed my own blog publishing system in PHP -the programming language for web servers-, which I precisely named “Blogpocket” (“the pocket blog”, probably in a bad translation). Although it was originally known as “El blog de Tramontana”, it was soon renamed Blogpocket.

The following is the article titled an online notebook, written by Ramón Buenaventura.

What I propose to you today, almost as a challenge, is better than a web page, for certain purposes. Because, of course, you are not going to tell me that you are not willing to have a website that you own, own and belong to, but you are not launching it, because it is a mess (or you have already launched it, but you have not touched the assembly again from the first day, because what a lot of LAN time is lost with so much uploading and downloading of files, and on top of that, let’s see who can clear up with the twisted rules of the HTML language). It’s called a “weblog,” “net notebook,” “net surfing notebook,” “virtual logbook,” whatever works best for you. And it is used for exactly that: to have a virtual notebook open on the Internet, so that you, as the owners, can write down everything you want, and I, as a visitor, can read it when I get the gust of wind. No, seriously: “weblogs” are used to build an elementary website, but very effective when what one wants is to keep friends informed of what is happening in a certain field, of what is happening to us or occurs to us, without need for overbearing graphics. To add insult to injury, creating a “network notebook” is a super easy process. I suggest you try Blogger. Everything is in English, but I think it is well understood. You have, first, to register in the house, as usual: you know that on the Internet they do not let us enter anywhere without first releasing the identity signs. Your notebook can then be made in two minutes. If they don’t have a website (ie: their own, paid or free hosting), Blogger itself offers it to them, for zero pesetas. If they have it, they can post the notebook on the FTP of their hostel —Geocities, let’s say—, simply by providing the address. You can choose between different templates (only four, but you don’t need more either) and, of course, you baptize with your best name. Oh, you also have to decide if your notebook will be public (everyone can read it) or private (only people you designate can read it). In your new virtual sheets you will write what you want, of course, but you will also add links to pages that interest you or to image and sound files. It doesn’t take one more than three minutes to get the hang of the editing process. Blogger also offers a “plugin” that is very simple to install 55 which, grafted onto iExplorer (not Netscape, what are we going to do), allows us to add the commented link to any page we are visiting directly to our notebook. A truly unusual convenience on the net, what do you want me to tell you. To get the same result on our conventional website, we would have to waste so much time and patience that, simply put, we wouldn’t do it. In short: I am very happy with the «weblog» and I think that everyone should make one. It is the curious case that I discovered this system about six months ago and I was exploring it a bit, without quite finding out. Today, having just read an article in Wired —which is still, bravo!, my favorite magazine—, I returned to the subject and immediately found the way and the taste. Then, in less than an hour, I had two virtual notebooks up and running, one of them already full of recommendations for readers. Get down to deploying your creative genius as soon as possible, ladies and gentlemen: don’t be lazy. ADDRESSES: Blogger: http://www.blogger.com Logbook: http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Gallery/6776/blogger.html A great example: http://obscurestore.com/ Other than He is not one-armed either: http://peterme.com/ And in case you need guidance on something very different: http://www.ctv.es/USERS/mag/home.htm

The first few years of my journey through the blogosphere were for exploration, but since there are very few blogs in Spain, Blogpocket immediately began to be well known.

Eduardo Arcos contributes to this by inviting me to Bitacoras.net, his directory of Spanish-speaking blogs. From Mexico, although Ecuadorian by birth, Eduardo Arcos represents one of the main promoters of blogs written in Spanish; and becomes something of a spirit guide for the Spanish-speaking blogosphere.

As soon as I entered Bitacoras.net, Eduardo Arcos also suggested that I write for Tecnobits, a kind of group blog for technology lovers.

From there, I start my own initiatives with the idea of ​​continuing to publicize my blog but also with the aim of expanding knowledge of blogs and creating a community around them.

It is the time when I meet very restless and interesting people, like Gemma Ferreres (Tintachina), José Luis Pumarega (Maelmori), Danuto (Carpe Diem) or Evaristo Babé (Awacate); and we began to carry out a multitude of wanderings. This is how the “blog of the fantastic 4” (Tintachina, Maelmori, Carpe Diem, Blogpocket), the I and II surveys of bloggers and blog readers, the Invisible Santa (3 editions) and many other initiatives worth remembering.

To know in detail the history of blogs, in its beginnings -what Gemma Ferreres called “the first boom” (2001), the “awareness” (2002) and “the sweet spot” (2003)-; and also in the periods 1999-2000 and 2004-2005, I suggest you check the website History of Blogs in Spain. This website, initially created by Gemma Ferreres as a wiki, is an exceptional and unique document that reflects everything that happened in that early period, with an almost negligible margin of error.

The complete Blogpocket archives, from 2001 to 2012 have been compiled in the corresponding downloadable PDFs and can be found here.

The following reviews in the newspaper El País highlight the importance that Blogpocket reached in the Spanish and Latin American blogosphere.

This article corresponds to chapter 1 of my ebook “A blog of 21 years (+1)” that can be downloaded here.

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