A Teen Mom's Tragic Life Unfolds in Real Time. Why Do We Follow Jenelle Evans?

Piper Weiss, Shine Staff

There are some trending search terms we've come to rely on: "asteroid" "antidepressants" and "Jenelle Evans." This week alone, Yahoo searches for Teen Mom 2 stars Jenelle Evans are up 26% with searches for her twitter account--her online journal of up-to-the-minute drama--spiking by 23%.

You'll understand why if you follow the 20-year-old pregnant reality star's hourly updates. On Tuesday she tweeted: "I am getting a divorce, ASAP. YOU F--ING LEAVE OUT OF TOWN AND I MIGHT BE HAVING A MISCARRIGE?! F--- U." Only a few days before she engaged in a public battle on the site with Courtland Rogers, her husband of 52 days. A few tweets before that, she was in love with Rogers and eating a grilled cheese from her "honey." A tweets further behind included photos of a wedding ring, a pregnant belly, a restraining order, a public feud with Roger's ex and an engagement to a completely different guy.

Tragic as it is, this hyper real-time heightened drama that makes Evans' life is as clickable as any story on a projected asteroid. It's also become more compelling than her "Teen Mom 2" series, which now stands to be about two relationships behind Jenelle's love-life.

"Jenelle uses Twitter, which is just about the most public platform in the world, to settle really, really personal conflicts," explains Los Angeles Times TV reporter Meredith Blake. "She knows that one negative tweet from her will generate dozens of headlines across the internet."

In the past year she's had two engagements, one marriage, countless legal battles, break-ups, twitter feuds and trips to the emergency room, and as of this week, a miscarriage scare.

All of it has been broadcast not on MTV but on Jenelle's Twitter and Facebook accounts.

"Heart broken completely in half," read one tweet last week referring to her husband's alleged infidelity. Another update in June revealed a photo of Evans crying after breaking up with another guy she planned to marry.

If she's taken the reigns of over-sharing her personal life we still blame MTV for all her problems?
"I don't think her habit of over-sharing is solely the product of going on a reality show," says Blake. "I doubt she would have done it in the first place if she weren't already prone to that kind of behavior. To me there's a kind of parallel between her disastrous love life and her relationship with social media and reality stardom. Both are totally toxic."

And totally addictive to TV audiences who have continued to follow Evans online. Viewers may be partially responsible for Evan's

600,000 twitter followers and 300,000 Facebook likes, but it isn't all MTV-targeted teens behind those numbers Of those searching her name on Yahoo this week, 56 percent are female with 25% coming from those 25-29 years old, and--most notably-- 27% are 55 and older.

"I find Jenelle to be probably the most fascinating and most tragic of the Teen Mom stars," says Blake. "There are moments when you can see how, if she hadn't made so many horrible choices, she might have turned out just fine."

We met her four years ago as a 16-year old with a deadbeat boyfriend, a dysfunctional family life and a baby on the way. As time passed we learned of her bi-polar diagnosis, her run-ins with the law, her addiction to pot, her need for affection and her confidence issues. Her struggles have served as person "what-ifs" for viewers and a cautionary tale of how possibility gets derailed with a combination of family and mental health problems. In many ways she's the teenager you could have been, the daughter you never had, the person who's mistakes you hope you can learn from.