SCOTTISH internet tycoon Pete Cashmore has re-joined an exclusive club of former presidential candidates, Hollywood directors and TV stars made up of America's "most influential" people.

Mr Cashmore, pictured with his girlfriend Lisa Bettany, rubbed shoulders with the likes of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin and TV chat show queen Barbara Walters at the Time 100 gala event, which celebrated the magazine's latest list, in New York.

The Banchory-born businessman, who became a huge star on the social networking scene through a combination of his successful blog site Mashable and his movie star looks, seemed at ease in the glamorous surroundings of Tuesday's event in the Time Warner Center. It was held by the magazine to celebrate its annual "100 Most Influential People in the World" list.

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He was previously in the top 100 in 2010, with Mr Cashmore credited alongside Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg for his influence on the social media phenomenon.

Mr Cashmore, 26, who now lives in San Francisco, makes an entry amid reports that Mashable, which he set up from the bedroom of his Aberdeenshire childhood home aged 19, is to sell for a reported $200 million (£128m).

He has been described as the "Brad Pitt of the Blogosphere", with Mr Cashmore name-checked in many magazine articles that celebrated either eligible bachelors or business visionaries.

Time describes him in the latest issue as a "leading light of the connected generation".

Mashable is described as a "must-read for people seeking to know what's next in the digital world".

The site claims to have 23 million monthly unique visitors and six million social media followers.

Mr Cashmore has won praise and has been described as a "fiercely intelligent" and a "tireless supporter of using social and digital platforms for good".

The magazine revealed how he used social media sites to raise money to build freshwater wells in Africa three years ago.

It adds: "Mashable gave him a voice. Today, it gives a voice to millions who are trying to make their lives better through digital innovation."

The former Banchory Academy pupil finished school two years late due to poor health and swatted away the prospect of university to concentrate on emerging technology and media.

Mr Cashmore returned to Scotland for a spell a number of years ago to refocus his energy on his business and moved back to his family home, where he worked 20-hour days in a bid to combat the time difference. He has now settled down with Canadian photographer girlfriend Ms Bettany.

Others attending the event included Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post, movie directors Kathryn Bigelow and Harvey Weinstein, as well as British designer Georgina Chapman.