Effects of Xbox Live on Friends and Communication

We all know the sterotypes of gamers.  We are loners who hang out in basements and we don't have real friends, we are anti-social, ect, ect.   
This is not true. 
We have friends, real friends, great friends that we all try to keep in touch with. Over the last few months, I've realized that I have been playing a lot more Xbox Live, not only to play all the games coming out, but more as a way to talk to my friends who have moved away. 
Let me go ahead and state before I go any further that, I don't like to talk on the phone, I don't have a Twitter.  The best and only reason to have twitter is Ice - T, which I just read anyway.  I mostly use Facebook and text to stay in touch.  I play on Xbox Live alot, but typically don't talk much, unless I am on a team of people and we are actually working together.  Sadly, most of the time, it's 12 year olds calling everyone terrible names, or just cursing because they think its cool.
I started using Xbox live more once a good friend of mine moved a few states away due to school, work and being married.  We would get on Live and play Modern Warfare 2, but also use it as a chance to catch up.  This also led to improved skills in MW2.......not a bad side effect.  The key here is to start a private chat.
This continued into Red Dead Redemption.  RDR multiplayer is infinitely better if you play it with friends.   Now, my brother and I have discovered that we can play Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood while chatting over Xbox Live.
It's things like this that encourage me to use Xbox Live / PSN more to not only game, but to stay in touch.   Without these services, I have realized that I wouldn't talk to alot of the people I know that have moved off near as much as I do now.