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Is social media really all about location, location, location?

We know that use of social networks on mobile platforms is on the rise. We know that SXSW attendees flipped for location-based social networks Gowalla and Foursquare this year. But does that really mean that location-aware networks meant for use on mobile platforms are the wave of the future?

In the lead stories from today’s SmartBrief on Social Media, Kunur Patel and Chris Dannen make compelling cases for why these location-based networks aren’t as revolutionary as they seem. Patel argues that when every Web service under the sun is making plans for some kind of mobile functionality with location-based features, stand-alone location-aware networks just aren’t as cool. And Dannen argues that for all the technorati excitement over these shiny news toys, “these services have inherently limited appeal.”

So which is it? Is location the best thing since sliced bread? Is location better when paired with the functionality of another network? Will it ever have mainstream appeal? Does it need to?

Image credit, Stephen VanHorn, via Shutterstock