I was reading Science News the other day: the full article is here, but I'll summarize for you. Basically, the USGS has a program that scours Twitter to look for earthquake related words. What they've found is that they can get immediate feedback on location and severity of earthquakes by dredging up and analyzing those tweets in real-time. The "tweet-powered" software works much faster than the normal earthquake-related analysis, which can take up to 15 minutes after the actual shake happens. And that 15 minutes can give emergency assistance teams the edge in reaching quake victims.
Did anyone ever think Twitter could save lives? Not me. I hate to say, but I might be coming around on Twitter.