Welcome to the forums, and great questions.
Reading the framing of your questions made me think of Josh Porter's book "Designing for the Social Web" (New Riders, ISBN 978-0-321-53492-7). He talks a lot about design goals for supporting the social activities of our audiences, fostering authentic conversations, and designing for ongoing participation, collective intelligence and sharing.
Personally, I feel that designing for people must, by definition, accommodate social elements of the audience (and be built by a collaborative team, with everything that implies). I think screens and keyboards and video are pretty clunky compared to the experience of meeting in person. I also know that connections we forge online have a massive impact on our physical and mental health, national and global politics, and our ability to form a critical mass or lobby group. Ironically, our social expectations and personal behaviour (not to mention legislation) are lagging far behind. While some people are ultra connected, others have an arguably richer life without it. It's a broad topic!