In my younger days, a friend used to be a person one knew well and regarded with affection and trust ; friendship was a very personal attitude one had to invest in ; friendship could be a real support in difficult times. Although one did not brag about one's friendships, any person who had more than ten friends was a charismatic wonder.
In my lifetime the word friend has been devalued and applied to mere acquintances and later to any person (m - f) one shared one's bed with.
Now, in the chatting, blogging, twittering and other universes the word has lost all meaning. The art is to "collect" as many virtual "friends" as possible ; and that takes so much time that one has no time left to invest in real friendships.
Unfortunately comparable evolutions have struck many other old fashioned words such as love, faith, marriage, honesty and so on and so on ; the list is almost endless.
Progress ? I sincerely doubt it.