First, Socialtext Free 50
Should it be surprising that Socialtext is offering the hosted version of the social networking solution free for small organizations? Maybe not, Socialcast has recently made a similar offer and Atlassian made some serious changes to their pricing structure to generate more interest in the SMB market. Perhaps it is just a sign of the times (we'd mention the economy here, but do we really have to?)
With Socialtext Free 50 you get everything you get with the paid for version including micro-blogging (Socialtext Signals), personalized dashboards, social networking, blogs and a wiki workspace. You even get to use the new Desktop Tool built on Adobe AIR.
Using your work email address you can either create or join a private collaboration network and your IT department can control the content and participation of that network. This service is also governed by "IT friendly policies".
If you decide to use this Free 50 as a test bed for a larger group, you will be able to upgrade to either the Socialtext Hosted or the secure Onsite Appliance deployment options seamlessly at a later date.
A Social Spreadsheet
Did you know...30 years ago the first spreadsheet program came into being and was called VisiCalc. Its co-creator Dan Bricklin is the Socialtext Product Lead for SocialCalc.
SocialCalc is a spreadsheet program that is integrated in the Socialtext social software platform. It offers the ability to link data from other spreadsheets and workspace pages. Because it is integrated with the Socialtext platform, it becomes a great collaboration tool for data.
Reading Data in SocialCalc
You can offer collaboration in one of two ways. First, you can publish the spreadsheet to the workspace where everyone can make their appropriate changes and an audit trial can tell you who changed what and when.
Or you can allow everyone to maintain their own spreadsheet with their data. You then interlink the spreadsheets. As they update their data, your spreadsheet gets automatically updated.
Editing in SocialCalc
SocialCalc takes on the same security infrastructure that is built into the Socialtext platform. This means you can ensure that the right people have access to data and any "rollup" reports that may be created by interlinking spreadsheets.
Finally, all the fun stuff you can do within Socialtext environment, you can do with SocialCalc, including linking, tagging, searching and notifications. You can also add cells or sections of a spreadsheet to a workspace page, insert blog entries or wiki content and add profiles to the spreadsheet.
The SocialCalc is now available as a public beta. You can get more information on its capabilities or go get yourself a demo at booth #609 in the Expo Pavilion at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference.
While you are there, check out the expanded capabilities of Signals.