Macon Phillips

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Macon Phillips
Macon Phillips official photo.jpg
Coordinator for International Information Programs
In office
September 23, 2013 – January 20, 2017
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byDawn McCall
White House Director of New Media
In office
January 20, 2009 – September 23, 2013
PresidentBarack Obama
Personal details
Born (1978-06-29) June 29, 1978 (age 40)
Huntsville, Alabama, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materDuke 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 reported 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 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] On 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 (January 25, 2009). "Melding Obama's Web to a YouTube Presidency". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved January 28, 2009.
  2. ^ Rucker, Philip (September 19, 2013). "Obama's officials to revamp digital diplomacy at State Department". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
  3. ^ Vargas, Jose Antonio and Sarah Cohen (January 21, 2009). "Democracy Online: Turns the Page". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved January 28, 2009.
  4. ^ Curry, Tom (February 7, 2009). "Democrats take control of Obama's '': DNC aims to nourish Internet-based organization that helped elect him". Microsoft. Retrieved March 2, 2009.
  5. ^ Schonfeld, Erick (January 20, 2009). " Has A New Face, And a Blog". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved January 28, 2009.
  6. ^ Phillips, Macon (January 20, 2009). "Change has come to". White House. Retrieved January 28, 2009.
  7. ^ a b c Campbell,Steve (November 15, 2008). "Randolph grad is Obama aide". The Huntsville Times. Alabama Live LLC. Archived from the original on May 12, 2009. Retrieved January 28, 2009.
  8. ^ a b c Benderoff, Eric (February 24, 2009). "Macon Phillips: The man behind President Barack Obama's new media director addresses both transparency, technology in office". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 24, 2009.
  9. ^ Rushing, J. Taylor (August 26, 2006). "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 January 29, 2009.
  10. ^ Elliott, Philip (January 20, 2009). "Obama texts warn of parking, train problems". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved January 28, 2009.[dead link]
  11. ^ Sifry, Micah L. (November 12, 2008). "Obama Transition Names New Media Staff". Tech President. Personal Democracy Forum. Archived from the original on January 24, 2009. Retrieved January 28, 2009.
  12. ^ Darcy, Darlene (January 23, 2009). "A wired White House". Washington Business Journal. American City Business Journals, Inc. Retrieved October 28, 2009.
  13. ^ Sen. John Cornyn (August 5, 2009). (Press release) Retrieved August 20, 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ Ambinder, Marc (August 4, 2009). "". The Atlantic. Retrieved August 20, 2009.
  15. ^ Miller, Sunlen and Jake Tapper (August 18, 2009). "Political Punch: Power, pop, and probings from ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper". ABC News. Retrieved August 20, 2009.
  16. ^ Thrush, Glenn (August 19, 2009). "W.H. can't assuage Cornyn". The Politico. Retrieved August 20, 2009.
  17. ^ Phillips, Macon (August 17, 2009). "An Update on "Reality Check"". Retrieved August 20, 2009.
  18. ^ Rucker, Philip (September 19, 2013). "Obama's officials to revamp digital diplomacy at State Department". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 9, 2013.
  19. ^ "U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission Successfully Concludes Second Young Journalist Exchange". United States Department of State. November 20, 2013. Retrieved December 9, 2013.
  20. ^ "Macon Phillips: White House Director of New Media (since January 2009)". The Washington Post. July 25, 2012. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
  21. ^ McCarter, Mark (May 31, 2013). "Huntsville's Macon Phillips playing key role in Obama White House as director for new media". Retrieved October 5, 2013.

External links[edit]

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