Dedicated readers of the Diamond Valley Leader newspaper are expressing their concern over the consistency of the appearance of arguably everyone’s favourite section – Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down. This section gives local residents a public platform to either praise or condemn the actions of fellow residents or businesses.

While the column still exists in some form, it doesn’t appear in the newspaper every week – and in recent times it has been omitted more than it has been included. Regular readers say they are slightly miffed by the omissions, as the column provides equal measures of manufactured outrage, warm and fuzzies, and genuine mirth at the occasional stitch up.

Leading social analyst Fraser Gardner claims the lack of material for the Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down section is mainly due to social media. He said, “social media has essentially stolen the thunder of what once was a very popular section of the local newspaper. These days, when people want to share their thoughts on an issue, they just post it on Facebook or Twitter and receive immediate feedback from their community of friends and colleagues, rather than write to the local paper and then wait up to a week before seeing whether it made it into print.”