What’s The Point of Location Based Social Networks?

I love technology. I never understood 5-8 years ago when people were resisting adopting things. I had a smartphone before the iPhone was out. I didn’t think it made sense to have a land line seven years ago. I think more people and content providers should embrace streaming media. But I don’t understand location-driven social applications.

I tried to get into Foursquare. I tried Path. I tried lots of other location driven apps and just couldn’t see the benefit. Now I assume that just not the right person for this, but it seems like I should be. I am a late 20-something professional who loves to use technology to make my life easier. But things like Foursquare are just big echo chambers to me. Maybe I don’t go out enough. Maybe I live in the wrong area. Maybe I don’t have enough friends. But I have never once opened of these apps and went “Chris is at Timothy O’Tooles! I got to go there!”

Instead when my friends are near me, they let me know, as I do them. We make plans to hang out. And it’s rare we are near each other without knowing it, and even rarer that happens when we are both free. So how is this supposed to work?

In a perfect world, I assume the lovers of these services have 100s of friends or acquaintances. And they are always looking to hang out with people. And always out already. But this doesn’t seem like the way it is. Most of the people I know don’t want to just hang out with any random acquaintance just because they happen to be close by. In fact, most people I know avoid those type of people altogether.

Certain apps seem to have some value. Apple’s Find My Friends seems like it could be useful for keeping tabs on a your teenage child, or to find out how far away a friend is that is meeting you. Foursquare and Yelp could be useful for finding restaurants in unfamiliar neighborhoods based on people you know.

But I think the main idea behind apps like Foursquare and Gowalla and Facebook places is dead. And I still wonder who they ever properly served anyway. Anyone know?