A FEW days ago, one of our journalists made a mistake. In an otherwise beautifully written article, she’d written heartrendering instead of heartrending.

Within minutes of its publication, people with nothing better to do with their lives took to social media to say she did not deserve her job (she does).

Another colleague made a slight mistake and she should have been sacked too, according to posts that viciously circulated the internet for weeks after.

Once, I came into the office to an answerphone crammed with messages from angry chemists. I’d written that they’d prescribed a drug, rather than dispensed it and as such I’d made a mockery of the entire industry and should be ashamed of myself.

The nature of our profession means any mistake we make – no matter what its magnitude - is there for all to see and open to public scrutiny.

Thankfully, reporters are a thick-skinned lot – being insulted on daily basis comes with the territory and nobody ever got into this industry to be popular. But the quick bile of the internet never fails to astonish me, those apparent perfectionists ready at their keyboards to attack for any misdemeanour.

Journalists aren’t the only ones publicly scrutinised – we live in a time where we all are, where a contentious comment or public error could genuinely lead to your ruin. We’re in a world full of pointing fingers and trigger-happy share buttons, permanently one click away from adding to someone’s misery.

This week, a man tried his utmost to destroy an independent café because its staff had served him ginger and lemongrass tea rather than lemon and ginger, as advertised on the menu.

His scathing TripAdvisor review was rightly ridiculed but too often, his tactic works – have an awful experience somewhere, post details online, watch it spread like wildfire.

People have the right to be aggrieved when they’re at the receiving end of terrible service, journalistic mistakes or other slights.

But the transformation from genuine complaint to angry crusade is all too often quick, unthinking and unsettling in its viciousness.

Businesses, people and reputations are regularly destroyed and publicly shamed by targeted campaigns that began, in innocence or spite, with a single complaint then shared hundreds, sometimes thousands of times.

While many trolls get their kicks leaving cruel comments under the shadow of relative anonymity, these vigilante crusades are more often given life by the well-intentioned.

Momentarily outraged, they’ll immediately press that share button and never give it another thought.

My ideal share button would prompt a series of reporter-like questions – is this true? Who’s the source? What’s the intention behind this? Do you really want to play a part in destroying that person’s reputation? And so on.

To all the good willed, kneejerk sharers of the world (that includes you, mother), consider for a second the potential impact of an unthinking click – not everyone’s as thick-skinned as a journalist.