When women in the public eye interact with social media, their strategy tends to fall into one of two categories.
The first group, aware of the inevitable online abuse that is levelled at them, have strict countermeasures in place. They know a nasty comment can ruin their day so they do their best not to read them. They protect their tweets and avoid Google Alerts like the plague.
The second group don't just read the comments, they read into them. They compare the number of positive comments to negative comments and deduct from it a skewed sense of their public perception.
They investigate the people behind the negative comments and try to understand the motivation behind their invective.
They spend considerable amounts of time monitoring their social media accounts and blocking online trolls.
Caroline Flack, who died by suicide last week, was in the latter group.
Following her death, Flack's friends have explained just how closely the TV presenter followed the negative commentary that was written about her.
"I could see that social media was taking over her life," said Irish stylist Fiona Fagan, who worked with Flack on Love Island. "She was constantly on Twitter and Instagram reading what was being said."
Fagan told Ryan Tubridy on RTÉ Radio One that Flack's mother would call her daughter before she presented an episode of Love Island and remind her not to look at social media afterwards.
"'Her mam rang her before and said, 'Good luck on the show, darling. Now promise me you won't go on Twitter after the show. Promise me'."
Journalist Rebecca Reid, writing in the Telegraph, recounted the time Flack contacted her about some tweets and a Grazia magazine article she wrote in 2019.
Reid criticised "the fact that (One Direction's Harry) Styles wasn't yet 18" when he was dating Flack (who was then 31).
She didn't know Flack personally, she wrote, so she was surprised when the TV presenter messaged her on Twitter to say that she didn't know what she was going through, or what the truth of the original story was.
"The messages she sent me arrived during the Love Island final," wrote Reid. "She was working, and presumably sending me Twitter direct messages during advert breaks. I realised then quite how much what I had written had affected her."
We know from both anecdotal accounts and empirical studies that women - outspoken women especially - are disproportionally targeted by online abuse, and the larger their following, the more likely they are to receive virulent online insults and threats.
Flack's love-life made her even more of a target. Her relationship with Harry Styles incurred the wrath of One Direction fans, and led to a bombardment of abusive messages on Twitter.
The abuse continued offline. "In the street people started shouting at me 'paedophile' and 'pervert'," wrote Flack in her 2015 autobiography.
"A One Direction fanzine has me as a voodoo doll, with arrows (pins) pointing to various parts of my anatomy. 'Crows feet, caused by old age; Hair: dirty-blonde dye job, she's probably just happy the bad dye job covers up her grey hairs'."
There was another Twitter pile-on when Flack was arrested and charged for the common assault of her boyfriend, Lewis Burton, on the morning of December 12 last year.
A few days later, her ex-fiancé Andrew Brady posted what appeared to be a heavily-redacted non-disclosure agreement on social media, along with the hashtag #AbuseHasNoGender.
The hashtag, which was coined several years earlier by the organisation Fathers 4 Justice to break the silence surrounding male victims of domestic abuse, soon went viral.
The organisation themselves later posted a draft ad campaign on social media, which featured an image of Flack superimposed on a police mugshot wall with the words: "This is what a domestic abuser looks like."
The reaction to Flack's death has led to a convoluted blame game. Flack's friends blame social media; social media blames the tabloids; the tabloids blame Love Island.
Meanwhile, Flack's management company blames the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for pursuing what they describe as a "show trial".
They argue that the CPS knew how vulnerable Flack was and point out that Burton didn't support the case. He was a witness to Flack's self-harm, they say, rather than a victim of domestic abuse.
The CPS, for their own part, issued a detailed statement, explaining why they pursue certain cases when the alleged victim does not want to press charges.
Domestic abuse complainants withdraw support for various reasons, they said. 'Victimless' prosecutions, as they are known, guard against coercion or intimidation by abusers.
In truth, we don't know the circumstances of Caroline Flack's death - and we never will. We can't point the finger at anyone or anything when there is clearly a confluence of factors at play. We know she suffered from anxiety and depression, but we don't know to what extent. We know she was troubled, but we don't know what troubled her.
What we do know, however, is that she was a victim of bullying. And while we can never know what ultimately drove her to suicide, we can at least assume that bullying was part of the problem.
Flack had a significant social media following: 2.7 million on Instagram and 1.9 million on Twitter. Those in the public eye are expected to have large social media followings these days but there comes a point when it's less about building a community and more about building a commodity.
TV presenters are now hired as much for their social media followings as their talent - and Flack would have been well aware of the bargaining power that her accounts gave her when it came to securing work.
Well-meaning friends probably advised her to come away from social media - even just for a few months - but it's not always that easy.
When you're expected to promote the shows you work on through your social media accounts, you can't just shut down what your bosses consider to be a key marketing channel.
It's the dilemma that every woman working in the media eventually has to wrangle with.
Does she avoid online abuse by keeping a low-profile on social media - all the while missing out on opportunities that might otherwise have come her way?
Or does she build her following and, in turn, boost her career, all the while knowing that it will put her right in the firing line for even more online abuse?
And what happens next? Some women can engage with social media without engaging with the negative comments, but many more can't. They get caught up in the negativity and never-ending debates, and consumed by what other people are saying about them.
Social media influencer Joanne Larby can relate to the Faustian pact that Flack made with social media. The Dubliner was subjected to relentless online bullying in 2018 which culminated in her taking a break from social media for two weeks.
Larby says she was extremely upset when she heard about Flack's death. "It was a very clear reminder of the path I could have taken if my mental health had been in a more vulnerable state," she says.
The path she actually took involved a period of reflection about how she wanted to engage with social media.
"I began creating more boundaries online," she says, "reducing the things I shared and being more mindful of how much I gave to followers."
The experience led to anxiety and PTSD, so she began seeing a therapist to help her "understand the mentality of a troll and almost empathise with their situation".
"I also focused on being less vulnerable online," she adds, "and moving my career towards new areas that didn't rely on gossip or salacious stories."
Dr Ciarán Mc Mahon, academic psychologist and author of The Psychology of Social Media, agrees that there are two ways to engage with social media.
He says women in the public eye should have a "large amount of operational security" around their accounts but adds that this approach can often lead to self-censorship and, of course, fewer followers.
On the other side of the coin are the over-sharers, who generally get more followers (and more abuse). "People will often go for uncontroversial opinions which don't get you any traction," says Mc Mahon.
"The thing that does tend to get you traction is personal insight. You start talking about your own life, your own experiences, even your own mental health issues - and this kind of personal narrative is often what people will go for. But that then creates more risk because you're opening yourself to more discussion and more privacy invasion.
"It's very difficult to see what the answer is because social media runs on an engine whose fuel is human psychology - it needs our input. Our personal information; our personal feelings - things we haven't said before.
"Eventually it becomes a conversation with yourself about who you are," he adds. "What's my opinion on stuff? What do I think about these things? And you have to do that constantly, otherwise you get ignored.
"It's a competition for visibility and the only thing that you have to exchange - to buy attention - is parts of yourself."
On Christmas Eve, Flack posted to say that she had "been advised not to go on social media".
She added: "I'm taking some time out to get feeling better and learn some lessons from situations I've got myself into."
On Wednesday, her family released an unpublished Instagram post she wrote days before she died. "I have always taken responsibility for what happened that night. Even on the night. But the truth is… it was an accident..." she wrote.
"I've been having some sort of emotional breakdown for a very long time. But I am NOT a domestic abuser."
Her final posts paint the picture of a deeply vulnerable woman who felt targeted and misunderstood. The online abuse was clearly wearing her down and yet she couldn't disengage from it. She knew the game was rigged but she couldn't stop herself from playing it.
Flack's death has sparked a long overdue conversation about the conduct of tabloid media and the growing problem of online harassment.
Larby says she would like to see the current petition 'Caroline's Law' ensure photographic ID is necessary to use social media as a form of communication. "That way trolls will be held accountable and the IP address and anonymity issue we face will diminish," she says.
Professor James O'Higgins Norman, director of the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre at DCU, agrees that anonymity is the "single biggest issue in terms of empowering people who will act in a bad way online".
However, he adds that anonymity can also be of great benefit to people who are seeking help online. "We were told by civil rights groups that having anonymity online allows people in very vulnerable situations to access support without identifying and making themselves more vulnerable."
O'Higgins Norman says we all have a part to play in addressing cyberbullying, before pointing to the trickle-down effect of reality TV on popular culture.
"Reality TV in recent times has been based on the premise of putting people into some kind of artificial scenario and getting them to compete in a very aggressive way with each other while the rest of us watch.
"We would be horrified by the idea of the Romans throwing people to the lions in the Colosseum and everybody watching it but, to a certain extent, we're doing that today in reality TV.
"Then take a show like Love Island where not only do they put you in a false environment but they take your clothes off, too."
There is no easy solution to this problem. The Be Kind campaign spearheaded across social media this week is a good start, but we need to go much deeper than a slogan. It's time to consider celebrity culture itself, and the price people - women especially - pay for being in the public eye.
Equally, it's time we acknowledged the inevitable abuse that women receive when they build an online profile, and asked what we're doing to protect vulnerable women from the worst of it.
As I came out of the service station toilets, my boyfriend had a serious look on his face. “Caroline Flack has died,” he said, breaking the news gently. I was in shock and largely silent as we got back in the car and drove home. My phone started to ping as my group chats filled with messages — all of us lamenting the news.
The family of Caroline Flack have released an unpublished Instagram post that the star wrote in the days before her death, in which she said that within 24 hours her whole world and future had been swept from under her feet.