I read this short story quite some time ago (about 20 years) but it stayed with me as the theme was very memorable. I'd love to find the book that the story appears in.
The story consists of someone whose job is to write papers consisting of other people's work (like an academic, for example). Everyone seemed to do this for their work. A lot of importance is placed on all the references they must use. It is obligatory to use these. Everyone lives in their own separate rooms/houses but never go out as everything is done remotely. I thought this was "The Machine Stops" by E. M. Forster, but I don't think it is, I think it's another shorter story that is similar, not about a woman and not as long.
The main protagonist becomes suspicious about why people never meet in real life, so he decides to conduct an experiment. He organised a party (or reunion) and invites all his friends. One by one they contact him with reasons for not coming until only a few are left. I can't recall the ending of the story but it's possibly about him being left on his own at the party, or not even wanting to go himself.
Does this sound familiar to anyone?