Macon Phillips

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Macon Phillips
Macon Phillips.jpg
Phillips in March 2009
Coordinator for International Information Programs
In office
September 23, 2013 – January 20, 2017
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Dawn McCall
White House Director of New Media
In office
January 20, 2009 – September 23, 2013
President Barack Obama
Personal details
Born (1978-06-29) June 29, 1978 (age 38)
Huntsville, Alabama, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Duke University

Macon Phillips (born June 29, 1978)[1] is a U.S. public servant who served as the Coordinator of the United States Department of State Bureau of International Information Programs from 2013 to 2017. He reports to Rick Stengel, the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.[2] Phillips is the former White House Director of New Media, in which capacity he had oversight responsibility for[3] Phillips' work on were closely coordinated with internet operations at the Democratic National Committee,[1] which has responsibility for administration of the domain and website.[4] At precisely 12:00 p.m.ET during the inauguration of Barack Obama, Phillips oversaw the conversion of, the official website of the President of the United States. At 12:01 p.m., he posted the site's first blog entry, titled: Change has come to[5][6]

Early life and education[edit]

Phillips is a 1996 graduate of the Randolph School in Huntsville, Alabama[7] and a sociology graduate of Duke University.[8]

Political career[edit]

Phillips is a former director of strategy and communications for Washington, D.C.-based Blue State Digital, a private web design firm that eventually became closely tied to the 2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign for whom he worked for as an internet strategist.[1] Phillips had previously worked for Democratic Florida State Senator Rod Smith as a senior strategist during the 2006 Florida gubernatorial election.[9] He had also worked for Ted Kennedy.[8]

Phillips was the Director of New Media for the Presidential transition of Barack Obama and had oversight responsibility for[7] In fact, he turned the website on the morning after the 2008 Barack Obama election victory speech.[8] Prior to that he was involved in and directed the technological initiative to announce the selection of Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee to be Vice President of the United States.[10] Philips' new media efforts during the 2008 United States presidential election helped raise vast sums of money for the Obama presidential campaign, while his text messaging, online videos and social networking skills led the campaign in many organizational and informational ways.[7][11] Blue State Digital created and managed Obama’s campaign site, which brought in a million Facebook friends and about $500 million.[12]

In early August 2009, Phillips was publicly criticized for asking members of the public—via a blogpost at—to forward "fishy" emails regarding healthcare reform, raising privacy concerns in the process.[13][14] On August 17, 2009, the White House closed down, the e-mail address created to receive those reports.[15][16][17]

In September 2013, United States Secretary of State John Kerry hired Philips as the head of the Bureau of International Information Programs in order to spearhead the overhaul of America's "digital diplomacy" efforts.[18] November 20, 2013, he met with the Russian participants of the U.S.-Russia Young Journalist Exchange.[19]


Phillips is the brother of Metropolitan Opera lyric soprano Susanna Phillips. He is married to Emily Price Phillips.[20] They had a son Max in November 2012. His parents are Dr. Macon and Barbara Phillips.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Rutenberg, Jim and Adam Nagourney (2009-01-25). "Melding Obama's Web to a YouTube Presidency". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  2. ^ Rucker, Philip (2013-09-19). "Obama's officials to revamp digital diplomacy at State Department". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  3. ^ Vargas, Jose Antonio and Sarah Cohen (2009-01-21). "Democracy Online: Turns the Page". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  4. ^ Curry, Tom (2009-02-07). "Democrats take control of Obama's '': DNC aims to nourish Internet-based organization that helped elect him". Microsoft. Retrieved 2009-03-02. 
  5. ^ Schonfeld, Erick (2009-01-20). " Has A New Face, And a Blog". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  6. ^ Phillips, Macon (2009-01-20). "Change has come to". White House. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  7. ^ a b c Campbell,Steve (2008-11-15). "Randolph grad is Obama aide". The Huntsville Times. Alabama Live LLC. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  8. ^ a b c Benderoff, Eric (2009-02-24). "Macon Phillips: The man behind President Barack Obama's new media director addresses both transparency, technology in office". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  9. ^ Rushing, J. Taylor (2006-08-26). "Web packs political punch The top four Florida governor hopefuls have sites they hope will click with primary voters". The Florida Times-Union. Newsbank. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  10. ^ Elliott, Philip (2009-01-20). "Obama texts warn of parking, train problems". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved 2009-01-28. [dead link]
  11. ^ Sifry, Micah L. (2008-11-12). "Obama Transition Names New Media Staff". Tech President. Personal Democracy Forum. Archived from the original on January 24, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  12. ^ Darcy, Darlene (2009-01-23). "A wired White House". Washington Business Journal. American City Business Journals, Inc. Retrieved 2009-10-28. 
  13. ^ Sen. John Cornyn (2009-08-05). (Press release) Retrieved 2009-08-20.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ Ambinder, Marc (2009-08-04). "". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2009-08-20. 
  15. ^ Miller, Sunlen and Jake Tapper (2009-08-18). "Political Punch: Power, pop, and probings from ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper". ABC News. Retrieved 2009-08-20. 
  16. ^ Thrush, Glenn (2009-08-19). "W.H. can't assuage Cornyn". The Politico. Retrieved 2009-08-20. 
  17. ^ Phillips, Macon (2009-08-17). "An Update on "Reality Check"". Retrieved 2009-08-20. 
  18. ^ Rucker, Philip (2013-09-19). "Obama's officials to revamp digital diplomacy at State Department". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  19. ^ "U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission Successfully Concludes Second Young Journalist Exchange". United States Department of State. 2013-11-20. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  20. ^ "Macon Phillips: White House Director of New Media (since January 2009)". The Washington Post. 2012-07-25. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  21. ^ McCarter, Mark (2013-05-31). "Huntsville's Macon Phillips playing key role in Obama White House as director for new media". Retrieved 2013-10-05. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Dawn McCall
Coordinator for the Bureau of International Information Programs
Succeeded by
Jonathan Henick