The social web is where these connections are most visible and most scalable, but the social web is simply the technological means that enables us to connect.
It's our values and brand allegiances and stories that provide the substance. Without us, the social web is nothing but amazing infrastructure.
"What are we, anyway? Most of what we think we are is just a collection of likes and dislikes, habits, patterns. At the core of what we are is our values, and what decisions and actions we make reflect those values." -- Steve Jobs, Playboy interview, 1985