I am not so young myself
, but I recognize that forum chat can be very different to face to face communication simply as a result of the extended time factors and the absence of paralinguisic gestures. Furthermore, the motives for forum presence can range anywhere from self publicity to boredom, with an actual need to 'debate an answer' being relatively low priority for many. I seem to remember making a remark that a Ph.D. thesis is waiting for anyone wishing to investigate forum communication.
But the 'need to talk' may indeed have been seriously affected by the 'cheapness' of information, and immediate access to sources of contrary opinion. Indeed the status of a single interlocutor in todays extended networks seems to have been devalued In that sense, I think you make a good point.