“Who Are You?” #1: Construct your Internet identity using search engines,
video, and social networking sites.  Present to class via web or presentation software.


Jeff Zahos - An Internet Identity


First big question - "what other people come up when I search my name?"

Answer: Mostly me


  • The first several results on Google searching "Jeff Zahos" go a long way to creating my online identity.  The first 4 results are pages from my personal/professional website "".  The page headings indicate that I am interested in "recording techniques", "music" and "sound design".  Pretty accurate, but that's because I made the pages.  Punching around the site is a bit confusing - Tags, categories and pages all kind of get mixed up - maybe this reveals something about my personality...  Haven't really created a well-designed, maintained site with a clear focus.  Maybe this is intentional, maybe not...  Only I and my "analog" friends know that the musician/recording engineer focus of my internet presence is not so up-to-date to my current station/interests/direction of life - There is a lag between my internet identity and my analog world identity.  (Maybe if I kept a blog religiously, it would be closer).  I have not been much of one for online social sharing - real-time modes of sharing suit me much more - I enjoy the in-the-same-space experience.
  • My public Facebook page reveals quite a bit about me too.  ( get the sense that I am a drummer - my profile photo is me slamming away on some drums.  I'm a fan of the Foo Fighters and Ryan adams and enjoy hockey in addition to audio and music.  MySpace reveals less, but even the photos indicate an involvement or interest in music...
  • My first post on is referred to (and displayed) on "A Dance blog made out of all dance blogs!  Additionally, there is a link to my name on in reference to our class last year.
  • Jeff's minimal Twitter activity (the only entry on his profile is "Hello World.") maybe says something about his tendency to start things and not finish them...  Although those who know me know that I am tending away from technology-based social communication, and that I am definitely not in to texting.
  • Other things revealed on the first page of results: Apparently I've been a member of I-Pan, a steel band at the University of Illinois, I am an influence of the band "The Dakota", and I once built a vibraphone damping pedal and mechanism and resonators.  Actually, there is ample evidence of the bands I've played in - show announcements all over from I-Pan, Backyard Shark, and starting to see more from Faster Forward. 
  • You also find quite a bit of evidence of my involvement with the Audio Engineering Society - old newsletters I'd authored, a .pdf of a report on a project to build an infrasonic detector that I was involved in, Engineering Open House programs, etc.
  • I am the subject of a podcast from the Champaign Central Bands website.  I was interviewed about my work as a freelance audio engineer.
  • Later, you find an early attempt at a wordpress blog that reveals an even broader definition of myself: "Hi! My name is Jeff Zahos. Here you will find information on my work as a musician, electronics technician, audio recordist, instrument technician and music educator. Notice the different pages on the menu bar and feel free to browse to learn more about me."  Again, those who know the analog me know the exploring and honing that I've been undergoing, not reflected online.
  • I also won some ESPN anchor bobbleheads back in 2001...
  • One of my favorite links is a link to (my old recording business) on - the tag is "Making a shark using sandpaper"
  • I find how many "linked" video sites have my name listed - mostly from a video used in a live performance that I was involved in - actually a kind of "mediated score" from a Cornelius Cardew piece which I performed as part of Colab, a class I was involved with last semester (FA10)
  • Also the premiere of a very strange musical/theatrical piece I played in at Truman State University.
  • It is also very interesting to look just at images - whether on Google image search or flickr pages that return my name - Backyard Shark.

Second big question:

"Does my internet identity 'match' my 'real' identity?"

  • Maybe it's because I've been interested in my internet identity for a long time, but I really didn't find so many surprises on my search.  I feel like it does give a pretty accurate (if not incomplete) picture of my life path, at least for the last 10 years or so.  It is quite scattered, however.  ...but maybe this says something about my identity...


  • I think one of the most interesting things about this exercise is that an internet search instantly reveals so much contextual information about my identity - the people, activities, places, activities, etc. - much more quickly than knowing me, and learning these things over time, by common experience or by discussion.

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Comment by U of I on Dance Tech (451T) on January 31, 2011 at 12:03am
an intellectual's response to a bogus assignment? you ask questions that we should all ask about our online identities.

Humans exploring collaboration, coops, hybrid art, dance, embodiment, cognition, tech-science, networks, post-humanism and culture.



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