There must be a host of legitimate uses for the same data. The obvious ones:
1) Verifiy or correct the date/timestamps on recordings.
2) Geo-locate based on hum signature. Could apply to recordings or "live" conversations (e.g. skype).
3) Synchronising recordings.
I'm often disappointed to find comments veer off track and never return. In rare cases the digressions are more valuable than the original article, but it sure would be great to be able to collapse ego wars, etc.
In the beginning "likes" had value because there was no incentive to lie. Now they are so gamed they've become meaningless. Couple that with the sheer number of "friends" who are little more than strangers and it's no wonder social reputation counts for very little. You get better recommendations from experts in forums - in the form of text, not scores.
It's hard to answer that question because so much depends on your specific circumstances but I'll try. I'm assuming you're able to do your own programming because $1000 won't get you very far if you need to hire developers.
Find an area where you think you can provide something of value. It could be a hobby or a problem in your community. Figure out how to solve it and have a go. Get feedback early and keep an open mind try lots of things and understand what's working and why.
If you don't already know patio11's Bingo Card Creator story, then probably the best advice you will find is on his website:
In my experience it's the programmers who can ONLY program that get little respect. The ones that can also understand other problem domains (business/people/processes) tend to get respect no matter what their job title, even in technology companies. So Zed is right - programming is most powerful as a tool to be applied to more interesting problems.