People love to talk about themselves. Aside from the oversharing eccentrics, this is generally healthy. Self-disclosure increases activity in your online community.
I think your community should encourage and make it easy for people to share major news about themselves. News such as job changes, promotions, marriages, new family members, departing family members. You can summarize news about members on the news page.
Off-topic discussion is good. Off-topic discussion which lets people congratulate and commiserate with each other is better. When community members treat each other like good friends, they’re likely to become close friends.