After reading chapter 6 of Ambient Findability (and also reading ahead on Shirky's Here Comes Everyone), I still find myself surprised to learn how much social aspects play in digital literacy. But after thinking about it, I realize it was apparent all along. It's kind of like owning a car—one may not realize how many different parts of a car it takes to work to make it drive. In retrospect, the pieces are only as good as the whole; even the smallest part has a place in the system.
The social concerns of digital technologies, such as the internet, play a larger role than I had imagined. Like McLuhan's The Medium is the Massage, certain human-made technologies are extensions of a sense. Similarly, humans are social creatures, and will usually find ways to form new groups and collaborations. Technology like the Internet offered new ways for humans to share, trade, and explore new realms of creativity and socializing. The Internet made forming groups easier, and utilized the ability for humans to trade and work together—taking part in the social aspects of humanity.
I also wonder why this never seemed apparent to me before. Social aspects were never something I thought of when it came to technology. Initially, I imagined these technologies a way to extend our capabilities in the digital realm; a new way to experiment with harnessing new and better technology. But these technologies are extensions of our social need, and they connect us together. These technologies, of course, are made to reach further into newer and better artifacts, but they arose from our intrinsic need to connect with other humans. Why didn't I realize this before hand?
The answer to this seems to be as subconscious as the idea of technology as a social medium itself. My social needs are human, and therefore ingrained in my system. I don't think about socializing when I'm doing it; that's just what I do. I socialize with my parents, friends, teachers, coworkers—all in all, it's part of every-day life. But technology, while being new and innovative, was a new way to do something I've always done subconsciously. Now, we have new vehicles for socializing and connecting. I realize that socializing has always been part of life, so I don't think about it, not even when it took on a new sphere of communicating.