People who have been following my blog for a while have probably seen me reference Brandon Wirtz' thought that Blogs are just a front porch (also see Dina Mehta). I like this particular analogy enough that I tossed it out as a topic for a session at the Sunday BlogHer Unconference. About a dozen people joined the discussion over lunch.
The front porch analogy is the idea that, while I control my porch, it is a place where I interface the rest of the world and invite them to come up and have a cup of coffee while we talk about things we find interesting together.
This analogy could be extended into the house, where I invite selected friends to sit with and talk in more depth about specific topics. Or I might just sit and watch TV by myself. Or the analogy could head out into the streets to the community center or public square where we all gather to hear what is being said. In each of these places, the rules are different about what is acceptable behavior and how to interact with those who are speaking.
One idea about these different venues relates to degrees of intimacy. Or what if the "porch" resided in a gated (closed) community. Another question had to do with how anonymity changes these analogies. I'm unlikely to invite complete strangers all the way into the house, but the porch might be a reasonable spot. Certainly, the town square is going to see a lot of strangers, and people could hide in that anonymity.
One aspect about considering my blog as an extension of me is that it is nice to greet the people who stop by for a visit. I like to recognize the people that leave comments or write about my writing elsewhere. One of the participants brings gifts to her community members. These actions help build relationships beyond the specific transactions in the blog.