Check out MemeTracker, a neat visualization of news coverage. Scroll down the first page to see some of the other applications with these data.
This is all part of the growing field of statistically analyzing the boatloads of data out there to help make sense of what we do, what we think, and how we respond on the Net. And it's just fun to play with. I like the "top phrases" graph. Run your mouse over the graphs and the phrase pops out. Cool.
What's this all mean? Lots of stuff, but it'll be an interesting portrait of what the media are talking about, what bloggers are talking about, what news people are talking about, another piece of the puzzle along with opinion polls and all the rest. What this fails to do, of course, is get at the meat of the matter. It's a picture, a snapshot, but that's about it. We don't so much learn from this as we see what we've been talking about. Still, a lot of fun to play with, and the first of many steps that hopefully will take us from what we're talking about to what we know.