My heart went out for our two-time Olympic gold medal winning heroine Rebecca Adlington last night on ITV's I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here. It was only last year that we hosted the greatest sporting event in the world and our Olympians were given their rightful place as national treasures in the press. But once those magical two weeks were over, our sportswomen were thrust into the media glare where it was their looks, and not their talents that were placed under intense scrutiny. And swimming legend Becky came off the worst.
'Comedians' like Frankie Boyle compared her to someone 'looking into the back of a spoon' and the Twitter images of unflattering 'look-a-likes' are frankly disturbing. I will never be able to fathom out what goes through the minds of bullies - virtual or otherwise, they are all the same to me - how someone can devote time to identifying another person's weakness only to viciously attack it until their victim is left emotionally bruised and bloodied. What a prize.
But I do get the immediacy of social media, I understand how people can get swept up in the Twitter bubble. Take those celebrities with 13million followers - me tweeting telling them that they are a dick isn't going to do anything is it? I mean, they probably won't even see it. Besides, it's just a tweet, it's not like I'm even saying it to their face and I certainly won't have to deal with the consequences and face their anger or sadness. I can forget about it as quickly as I press that 'tweet' button in the right hand corner of my screen. For most, these thoughts won't even come into their head before they post something vile on someone's Twitter page - for this kind of 'trolling' I fear has become second nature.
The reason why I'm A Celebrity is so popular is that we get to see preened and pampered celebrities unedited and stripped bare of their make-up, lackeys and glamorous surroundings. They become like us, vulnerable and human. But we forget that they are human outside of the jungle, with the same hopes and fears as the rest of us and they most certainly do read our tweets. Even yours - positive or negative. Proof of this was Becky's tears on last night's episode. After discussing the effects of beauty pagents with Miss Universe contender Amy Willerton on 'ordinary women', Becky represented anyone who has ever felt insecure about their looks and everyone who has been bullied because of it. Because that is what these tweets are - bullying. You may not agree, you may think it is funny, or 'fair game' because she is famous but for anyone who has sent offensive tweets to anyone - famous or otherwise - I urge you to watch the episode back and see for yourself the pain that is etched across that woman's face. Like most watching the show, I saw myself in Becky when I was awkward teenager struggling to 'fit in' to become as pretty as the popular girls. But where I have been lucky enough to leave my school days and insecurities behind - well most of them - the constant and unrelenting battering Becky gets on Twitter means she will never leave the playground.
Search her name on Twitter and see for yourself what she has to contend with. Shamefully, even after these bullies saw for themselves the damage their words were doing, they continued to post their messages after the programme aired. This isn't a blame game - it is easy to get caught up in the faceless vacuum that is Twitter but now you can see their effects on the small screen, I hope you will think before you tweet - they do more than you realise, even to celebrities.