We spend a lot of time evaluating the right balance of people and content when we design Clearspace. Too much "people presence" and the UI seems to emphasize individual contribution (sorta ego-driven), too little and users miss the social aspect of who is behind the content (feels a little lifeless). Users like easy ways of keeping track of who they are communicating with.
Below is a quick before and after example. The top image shows a list of different content types in our current production release of Clearspace 1.1. Note that people are still present in this layout but more as supporting information for the content.
We've modified the UI to equate people with content for the Clearspace 1.2 release which comes out next week. Note that the below screenshot displays avatars, names, and presence (are they online, away, offline, disconnected?).