We know that teens are mobile. They're always on their phones and expect most of their favorite online experiences to transition into mobile. Teens love to text, and Twitter is more like texting than Facebook is. They prefer short-form content and they like to share social experiences with each other. Teens like to keep it simple while also expressing themselves.
Even with all this, study after study has shown that teens just don't like Twitter that much, and many teens express no intention of using the platform. They're not as interested in sharing links or expressing their personality in 140 characters or less. Teens aren't trying to self promote, and most of them use it to follow celebrities (which may also become a vehicle for teen audience growth via the new "Follow" button).
So, how can Twitter make sure they don't lose that market potential as the teen audience grows up? The answer is starting to show up with Twitter's latest evolution as it becomes more of a content library than just a content-sharing platform.
Twitter isn't directly targeting teens with this new addition, but it is certainly tapping into a need state of that demographic. Teens are heavy adopters of photo-sharing sites like Flickr and Photobucket. They share pictures on Facebook, but typically stick to photo sites for their more creative and personal photo sharing, whereas Facebook is more about pictures from a party or driving in the car to the mall.
Teens also tend to have accounts on video sites like YouTube to share with their closest friends. We know that teens watch a lot of online video. YouTube is the go-to place for video search, but Twitter has the opportunity to become a resource for socially shared video among teens if the user base grows because, as we all know, teens trust peers as sources of information.
With the addition of photo and video hosting, as well as integration into the overall platform experience, Twitter could be the go-to place for teens who want to share photos and videos with select groups of friends and even connect with other teens doing similar things.
Twitter has a big opportunity to grow its teen audience if it finds ways to make these new features relevant to their needs -- especially now that teens are starting to experience social media fatigue with other platforms that are becoming more complicated and less personal. For now we'll have to wait and see the new features are rolled out and what's coming next.