Yes, social networks are the new world of adventure. From the New York Times:
But it is Facebook’s role as a petri dish for the social sciences — sociology, psychology and political science — that particularly excites some scholars, because the site lets them examine how people, especially young people, are connected to one another, something few data sets offer, the scholars say.
Social scientists at Indiana, Northwestern, Pennsylvania State, Tufts, the University of Texas and other institutions are mining Facebook to test traditional theories in their fields about relationships, identity, self-esteem, popularity, collective action, race and political engagement.
Read the whole article here. I was particularly pleased because they referenced a study on Facebook I had assigned this semester; made me feel like I'd "scooped" the Times. I think if I weren't a professor, I'd like to be a coolhunter.