Our own Joe Eckert helped found SoMe Lab in collaboration with two other students from the iSchool (Jeff Hemsley and Shawn Walker). SoMe Lab is a social media laboratory at the University of Washington. They're building data collection and analysis services for "big" social media data. Their ideas and work were used as the core of a successful NSF grant proposal (INSPIRE) for $997,000. Congratulations to Joe and the rest of the SoMe Lab team!
(map image is raw counts of geolocated Occupy-related tweet data from Oct. 19 - Dec. 31 2011)
You can read more about the lab here: somelab.net
You can read the NSF grant here: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardNumber=1243170
And read the iSchool's announcement here: http://ischool.uw.edu/feature/uw-information-school-awarded-997k-social-media-research