Things, our way of life, is different now then it was when I was growing up in the 1960's. In talking with the elders in town, life was different in the 1940's then the 60's then now. In other words society evolves.
It used to be when someone moved away old friendships would be maintained by letter. Later an occasional phone call. Now you can have a six way conversation over the internet while you play an online game together. Or even have a blog where your friends and family can do a quick catch up on whatever is going on or any rant you have going.
In my mind maintaining a friendship on an active basis is better then sending letters.
When I was growing up, I could walk down my street and tell you the last name of nearly every family living in the various houses. I cant do that now. The reason why? My mom was a stay at home mom. She would be on her own while the kids are at school day after day. Our house was immaculate (she still can out clean close to anyone on the planet).
My mom, like most of the homemakers of that time. Would get bored and either turn on the soap opera's or go shopping or head outside and garden or go over to others houses and 'visit'.
Visits consisted of small talk and tea or coffee. Sometimes card games etc. The group would consist of various neighbors and the group would grow or wane depending on the day to day goings on.
In this way the neighborhood became a community and families would get together for various outtings because of the friendships these stay-at-home-moms would form.
Today, everyone works. Instead of being at home. Even if you were a stay at home parent you wouldnt likely be able to get together with other peoples because they are working as well.
So we evolved out of the nieghborhood format and a goodly portion of our social activities involved clubs, churches and co-workers. Or we just hang out with our families.
In my mind this isnt a great step in evolution.