This may be ill-informed guesswork but I'll take a stab anyway. A hundred years ago, people in Britain knew most people in their village or town. They spoke to their neighbours on a daily basis, over the garden gate, down the road. People had a community around them with whom they communicated daily.
Nowadays, this neighbouring community has been replaced.
Many people do not even know the name of their neighbours. They hardly know or speak to anyone as they walk around their daily business.
However, they do have a set of friends with whom they communicate daily. Those friends may be hundreds, or thousands of miles away. But they are close via text, email, mobile phone. (Look at the "Burbling readers" pictures on the right and down a bit. It is a little community of which I am part. The community members are spread all over the UK and as far afield as Florida, USA.)
It is very strange how this replacement has taken place. In the old days we would talk to people we met in the street. Now we ignore them while we talk to some unseen friend hundreds of miles away on our mobile.
A Parisian web site called Peuplade has set out to redress the balance, so that Parisians communicate more with close neighbours - through the internet.