I don't like it, precisely because it looks like a social network that way, as you mentioned. This is a negative in my opinion, because as primarily a writing site, I don't feel it 'should' look too much like a social network. I much preferred the old Hubpages home page in terms of overall look. However, on the plus side for the new version, it lets you do things that weren't possible before, like look at new answers to questions you are following, without leaving the home page.
Overall, not a total disaster, but not great either. I just avoid the home page now unless I have a bunch of recent stuff of interest that I want to check on. Great question by the way!