Volume 14(3), 2018-11, 366—381

The organizational use of online stock photos: The impact of representing senior citizens as eternally youthful

Eugène Loos
Utrecht University School of Governance
the Netherlands

The digital divide due to age is declining quickly. But this does not necessarily mean that the willingness to use stock photos depicting older people accompanying digital information is the same among all senior citizens. Three research questions are at the core of this paper: (1) To which extent can various senior citizens (women and men, younger old and older old, living alone or together, full of vitality or fragile) identify with online stock photos of older people accompanying information about pensions, income, health and housing?, (2) Which are the connotations of the visual signs used in such stock photos? and (3) What are the policy implications for organizations aiming at offering digital information for a diverse group of senior citizens? The results of a Dutch study among 31 older adult are used to get insight into the ways they identify with stock photos. Finally, implications for research and society are sketched.

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