Life is like this

I guess many of us would have heard this saying attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt. “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Same can be said of humor as well – the joke can be on ideas, events or people. Humor around people and events are both easier to write as well as easier for the reader to grasp and succor, which is one of the reasons for the high popularity of this brand of humor. On the other hand humor around ideas requires an intellectual caliber of both the writer as well as the reader. ‘Life is Like this’ is one of the rare humor blogs that focuses on satire around ideas. However I must say it enjoys a reasonable amount of popularity.

The blogger in question, Suresh has been someone with who I have had close association for close to two years and he follows my blog reviews and kind of respects my opinion on making a blog effective. So the blog is more or less in line with what I would probably be looking for. That way I think there is little I may be able to offer by the way of suggestions for improvement. But let me still go over each aspect one by one.

In terms of name, I think he has nailed it. ‘Life is like this’ puts across appropriately what the blog is about – a humorous look at the vagaries of life, some of the ludicrous social norms and foibles of human behavior. The punch line describes the nature of his writing perfectly - A dose of adventure and entertainment, a lot of humor, a bit of philosophy. However I am a bit unsure of the adventure bit. I guess that was included to cover his posts on trekking. But I think the trekking posts are out of resonance with the main theme of his blog unless he wants to assign some allegorical significance to his treks and starts to use them to take pot shots at human life. So even if these posts figure in the blog for the lack of an alternate medium to bring them out, they are not something I would highlight in the punch line. The url however is not an easy one to remember and has not much to do with blog title or content. So if and when he goes for own domain, I would suggest to go for a different one.

Moving on to the look and feel, it is a very simple theme and has a clean look – no fancy colors or designs. One of the striking features of this blog is an utter paucity of images. Generally I would recommend adding some images to supplement posts. But in case of Suresh, I feel this the lack of pictures deliberate and kind of accentuates his image as a ‘to the point’, ‘no frills’ kind of person. So I would leave it that way. In terms of gadgets also they have been kept to the minimum. The one gadget that is there is one I do not like and I have expressed previously on many of my reviews – the live traffic feed one. I hope the makers of the gadget don’t end up suing me. Well anyways – I see it as a non-value add from the visitor's perspective and I feel it occupies an inappropriately large amount of space. But I guess bloggers like to indulge themselves and like to take a peek from time to see if anyone is visiting their blog and from where they are visiting. Navigation is exactly how I would want it to be – there are the archives, all posts labeled accurately and use of static pages and tabs to give links of posts belonging to different major themes.

I had started off this post with a mention about the content. I feel the content is perfect and there is always the same underlying theme. It is humor at its best and many of his posts work at two levels –there is the deeper satire on social norms and a more superficial self-deprecating humor. So it caters to both kinds of people - those who like simple slapstick and those who like something that tickles their intellect as well. Also he has a social message that he tries to bring out in both his serious posts as well as the humorous ones. As I had mentioned earlier, if one were to see his blog as a niche blog, some of the contest posts, book reviews and trek reports seem a bit out of place. One thing I usually recommend for blogs that depend on regular readership rather than floating traffic from search engines is to have a regularity and pattern in posting. This is something Suresh has already started already doing. He usually has a post on his blog on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Also series are good way of keeping readers engaged – they keep coming back every week to see what is next. The 'phrases and meanings' was one such good series. Hope to see more such series.

I think when talking about content itself, I have got a bit into the interaction space. Suresh is one blogger who maintains an excellent rapport with numerous bloggers. He visits many blogs, has done guest blogs on over a dozen different blogs and replies religiously to every comment. He always uses the same picture with red striped shirt in all his social media interactions making him easily recognizable at sight. So overall this aspect is going quite well.

In the final analysis, this is definitely one of the better blogs in the blog-o-sphere that I would recommend everyone to frequent regularly. Let me give a select sample from his blog to get the new reader started.

30 comments:

medha kapoor said...

Suresh's blog is always one of the first blogs I show people when telling them, 'this is how it is done'. A very good and objective analysis there. :)

sibi said...

Very comprehensive review. Suresh is a blogger who inspires others. I am sure he will continue to be at his creative best always.

Alka Gurha said...

It is a pleasure to read Life Is Like That. I admire his lucid alive prose and the self deprecating humor. He always makes me think and smile.

umashankar said...

There are many humour blogs out there but few pack the force of existential proportions like Life is Like That. Of course, the title itself is an epigraph.

You have put Suresh's blog under your fine lens where most aspects are illumined brightly and I have a feeling that some of the brilliance is on account of the subject matter under scrutiny. I would not comment on the SEO habits of the blogger in question, not that I am illiterate on that account, it occupies a low rung to my small mind.

Thank you for reintroducing Suresh.

Suresh Chandrasekaran said...

Thanks TF for the detail of the review as well as those wonderful words about the blog. Some things - the blog was originally started ONLY to capture my trek/travel experiences and wandered over to other areas later. All that humor, philosophy etc were supposedly embedded in the trek/travel posts :) Now, of course, it is more of humor/philosophy than anything else BUT as you rightly point out I do not write enough of the others to populate another blog :)

That real-time view will go now :) I put that in on someone's recco - and hardly ever look at it at all. So, it does not even serve to pamper my vanity :) And, yes, I must confess that I took a lot of inspiration from your blog in putting in place the navigation aspects of my own.

Thank God you found the lack of visual images OK :) Lacking any sense of visual attractiveness I would have made a hash of trying to put in photos and the like :)

Suresh Chandrasekaran said...

Surprising position I find myself in of thanking people for a post - not by me - on someone else's blog :) But, if you make me happy the least I can do is thank you for doing it. Thanks, Medha!

Suresh Chandrasekaran said...

Sibi! Thanks! When I hear words like this I only wish that my best were far better than it is

Suresh Chandrasekaran said...

Thanks Alka! 'Think and Smile' - you made me feel that I have achieved all that I set out to achieve while writing.

Suresh Chandrasekaran said...

Wow! Uma! I just tickle myself on those loose threads that hang on Society's garments :) SEO beats me too - the only thing I have done is navigation - indexing posts and all :)

Rickie said...

I think this is the first time that I am reading a blog review! Glad I started with Suresh's blog. I agree with most of the points you say. On the point of reviews and trekking posts, yes I do tend to give them a skip (unless of course the book happens to be the one I wrote!) but I believe given the popularity and rationality of his words, people read those, too, with much interest.

Suresh Chandrasekaran said...

Thanks Rickie! All this affection is overwhelming

Siddhesh Kabe said...

A blog review by the blog that is competing for the top position in my to-read list about the blog that it is competing with for the top-position. Hmmm, life is seriously funny.

Suresh Chandrasekaran said...

Never mind, Siddhesh! TF and I are quite comfortable sharing a position :)

The Fool said...

Thanks, Medha. Glad you liked my review. And regarding your liking for the blog, your have reply right from the horse's mouth.

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, Sibi.

The Fool said...

Thanks Umashankar, glad I was able to illuminate the finer aspects of this inherently radiant blog.

The Fool said...

Glad You felt I could do justice to your blog, Suresh.

The Fool said...

Thanks, Rickie.

The Fool said...

Thanks for considering my blog comparable to Sureh's blog, Siddhesh.

asteria's canvass said...

i guess this is one blog I try not to miss any post (Life is like This), and always read each post slowly coz sometimes the vocabulary is a bit difficult for common place people like me and this is also one blog where I comment those long and descriptive comments, I guess that says it all. :)
TF the review is fantastic taking each and every aspect in count, and I have to agree with you on that Visitors gadget on blog, i took it down after using it for few days as I found it spooky.

Suresh Chandrasekaran said...

Thanks Ratika! I hope the vocabulary does not put you off the reading :) Too late for me to change :)

Pankti Mehta said...

TF, I really like the way you review blogs. I hope my turn will come soon :)

Rachna said...

Another excellent review by you, TF! I have always learned something of value from your blog reviews, and I have already told you that. Suresh's blog is all that you say it is, and definitely a blog I look forward to reading. Another thing about his posts is the post length. I think he keeps them just suitable for an easy, breezy non-taxing read!

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, Rachna. It always makes one happy to hear his work is of value. Agree with you point on Length of posts - something I need to learn.

The Fool said...

Thanks, Pankti - There is such a long list. Eventually your turn would come.

Suresh Chandrasekaran said...

Thanks Rachna! Great to hear that I got the post length right too - even if by inadvertence :)

asteria's canvass said...

oh no no, please continue with the vocabulary.. i will learn some new words.

Pankti Mehta said...

Yes, umeed pe duniya kaayam hai :P

Diwakar Narayan said...

Suresh's blog is truly a milestone most of us aspire to reach. The content does not require any further ado to make an impact on readers' mind. It just strikes!

The Fool said...

I agree, Diwa.

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