I recently finished reading Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies co-written by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff from Forrester Research. As I was readinggroundswell it, I couldn’t help thinking it’s a book every communications student should read.

For every school with an Online PR class, or looking to start one, I highly recommend using this as a text for a good chunk of the course. This book isn’t your typical boring textbook; it’s well written, conversational and most important, practical.

Three reasons I found the book so useful:

Case studies:

  • It’s one thing to read about methods that could be taken, and another to see methods that have been taken. The book has countless examples from Dell to Blendtec to draw on.

*Right after I began reading Groundswell, the case studies came in handy. During my internship, I was able to use it to add to a presentation about social media to a client, and draw on an example from a similar company for a separate project.

Method breakdown:

  • The POST Method is a 4-step guide to implement social strategy. Before this, I really had no clue how companies went about figuring out which way they wanted to connect with their audience.

Audience breakdown:

  • Thanks to Forrester Research, Social Technographics Profiles help companies determine what type of social tool their key audience would be more inclined to use.

These three examples alone make Groundswell a worthwhile addition to the Online PR classroom. Add that to teaching students about Online News Releases (and social media news releases)  and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and they’ll have very important tools to take with them should they need them after graduation.

At least that’s how I’d do it. What do you think is needed in an Online PR syllabus?