A social spreadsheet is social software that combines a spreadsheet with a wiki. Social spreadsheets allow workers to collaborate asynchronously over distributed networks. They may be shared with others in read-only or editable formats and are accessible through a Web browser.
Social spreadsheets eliminate the need to email attachments back and forth between teams or individuals, with the associated version control issues and archival demands on network resources. As with other wikis, the users of a social spreadsheet can view the history of a document, discuss changes and add links to external documents or resources. Central collaborative documents provide increased productivity gains and eliminate unnecessary messaging. Users can also track changes to a given document through RSS subscriptions.
Accountants, IT administrators, educators and anyone that uses spreadsheets to organize and present data will find social spreadsheets useful. An open-source version of SocialCalc, the social spreadsheet developed by Dan Bricklin, inventor of VisiCalc, will be used in the XO, the low-cost laptop created by the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project. This social spreadsheet will be distributed in the developing world, offering teachers, farmers, merchants and children access to one of the fundamental IT productivity tools of the PC age: the spreadsheet.
Learn More about IT:
> Dan Bricklin describes the social spreadsheet in this video on WhatIs.com's blog.
> SocialText, an enterprise wiki software company, distributes a social spreadsheet.
> NumSum also makes a social spreadsheet, as explained in this FAQ.
> Mashable listed fourteen different online spreadsheet applications, each with varying levels of social software capabilities.