Pres. Obama to Use for ‘Open Sourced Democracy’

UPDATED: Jan 20 | 15:15pm EST — In the wide world of the web, nothing stays the same for long — domains are bought and sold, sites are overhauled and updated, and new applications and technologies are lauded and discarded in the same breath.

But despite shifting technological sands, Barack Obama and his team have proven masterful in their ability to engage the American (and arguably world’s) population online.

By using every available means and mechanism of disseminating information and distributing their message, Obama has successful mobilized a new generation of American netizens to, at least, pay attention to the change that is coming to the White House.

Now, that President Obama has officially taken office as the 44th President of the United States of America on Jan. 20th, change has begun to take place not only in his administration but also in his digital identity and web presence.

As of 12:01pm EST, has officially become and, from this moment on, Obama’s team has pledged to expand its use of the web to promote a strategy of “open sourced democracy” that will allow unprecedented access, insight and, most importantly, input from everyone in the United States with access to an internet connection.

According to the Macon Phillips, the newly appointed Director of New Media for the White House, the Obama administration will focus on three key priorities: Communication, Transparency, and Participation.

Is this the digital future of democratic governance? On this historic day, it certainly feels that way.

For live updates, follow the White House on Twitter @whitehouse_gov or subscribe to the first-ever White House blog:

Here’s more from the White House’s official statement:

I’m Macon Phillips, the Director of New Media for the White House and one of the people who will be contributing to the blog.

A short time ago, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States and his new administration officially came to life. One of the first changes is the White House’s new website, which will serve as a place for the President and his administration to connect with the rest of the nation and the world.

Millions of Americans have powered President Obama’s journey to the White House, many taking advantage of the internet to play a role in shaping our country’s future. is just the beginning of the new administration’s efforts to expand and deepen this online engagement.

Just like your new government, and the rest of the Administration’s online programs will put citizens first. Our initial new media efforts will center around three priorities:

Communication —
Americans are eager for information about the state of the economy, national security and a host of other issues. This site will feature timely and in-depth content meant to keep everyone up-to-date and educated. Check out the briefing room, keep tabs on the blog (RSS feed) and take a moment to sign up for e-mail updates from the President and his administration so you can be sure to know about major announcements and decisions.

Transparency — President Obama has committed to making his administration the most open and transparent in history, and will play a major role in delivering on that promise. The President’s executive orders and proclamations will be published for everyone to review, and that’s just the beginning of our efforts to provide a window for all Americans into the business of the government. You can also learn about some of the senior leadership in the new administration and about the President’s policy priorities.

Participation — President Obama started his career as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago, where he saw firsthand what people can do when they come together for a common cause. Citizen participation will be a priority for the Administration, and the internet will play an important role in that. One significant addition to reflects a campaign promise from the President: we will publish all non-emergency legislation to the website for five days, and allow the public to review and comment before the President signs it.

In addition, has embraced Creative Commons licensing for all 3rd party content that will be featured on the site.

Except where otherwise noted, third-party content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Visitors to this website agree to grant a non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free license to the rest of the world for their submissions to under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.


At exactly one minute after noon on Tuesday is coming to the White House.

That’s the moment when — the website for the past eight years of President George W. Bush — changes hands and the savvy young New Media webmasters of freshly sworn-in President Barack Obama take over.

The new is expected to be the window for what is being touted as a bold experiment in interactive government based largely on lessons learned during the most successful Internet-driven election campaign in history.

“The White House is going to be a very exciting place,” said Macon Phillips, director of New Media for Obama’s transition team. “We’re pushing the envelope here.”

Since the November 4 election, the transition team has been “looking at government, how we can open it up, how we can engage citizens,” he said.

The goal is to “continue the same spirit, participation and energy that was so essential to us during the campaign,” Phillips said. “But more than that, to continue to expand it.”

The Web will be the laboratory for what some are calling “open sourced democracy” and a glimpse of what the new may look like can be found at, the official transition website.


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