There is an article on Mashable called How to use Facebook for Thank You Notes.
I found the title intriguing, so I took a look.
It will not surprise you to learn that I Have an Opinion.
The article suggested things like thanking someone for dinner by taking a photo of the meal and posting the picture with a thank you and compliments to the chef. Another idea was to thank someone for inviting you to an event by taking some pix of the event and posting those with some of the details about the event with a thank you for the invite. (Hint: include the hashtag for the event if there is one.)
I think those are great ideas. They are acknowledgements of a great time together (presumably you’ve already said thank you in person) and a there’s nothing wrong with publicly acknowledging a big event or even a small dinner.
HOWEVER (you knew there was going to be a “however” didn’t you?), there are some things for which a tweet or Facebook post is not only inappropriate it can be downright rude.
When you get a gift from someone, you need to send a real thank you note—especially if the gift is sent to you and you are not able to hug the giver and say thank you in person. A FB thank you without a personalized, heartfelt thanks is just wrong and rude.
If you thank someone professionally, don’t use Twitter or Facebook. If they’ve introduced you to someone, if they’ve gone out of their way to help you, if you’ve made a sale, saying thank you on FB is weird. And unprofessional. And Wrong. Don’t do it.
If the person is not a social media junkie and/or is not part of your usual social media circle, why would you thank them in front of people they don’t know? Go personal, go private, go polished. Write a real thank you.
For a formal event you need formal thank yous. When you graduate, when you get engaged or married, when you receive a special honor, on-line thank yous don’t cut it. Formal congratulations require formal acknowledgements. Pull out the stationary and put pen to paper.
Thank you for listening.