The bravery of William Wallace or the poetry of Robert Burns may be the best-known Scottish cultural exports among the traditional set, but for the more-youthful online crowd, Pete Cashmore and Mashable.com are the man and story of the moment.
The Internet news site founded by Cashmore calls itself the world's most-popular social networking blog and gets more than 5 million monthly page views to back up the claim. Working with a staff of 8 editors and 20 freelance writers, Cashmore has made Mashable into the go-to site for news about MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Bebo and similar sites.
Now he's getting ready for a mid-February launch of Mashable 2.0, which he says will add "lots of visuals, lots of thumbnails" to a site that's now primarily text-based.
With the new design, Mashable "is going all YouTube-ish," Cashmore told us during a visit to Vator.tv this week. Like the world's largest video-sharing site, the new Mashable will group its content into categories like "hot posts" and "top-rated" posts.
The re-design will transform Mashable into a site more like those it covers, rather than a blog where readers have to scroll down to find and read stories. It will be interesting to see how well Mashable navigates the transition from being a mere observer of social networking to a participant in the nascent industry.
Users will be able to create profiles and grab news feeds from the site, which will also have a marketplace for buying and selling startups.
Mashable has also developed an open API (application programming interface, for you non-techies out there) that will allow developers to port their applications written for social-networking sites like Facebook to Mashable, where they can be tested and reviewed, Cashmore says.
Users can also re-mix -- or "mash" -- the site's stories and pictures with other Web content using the API, which Mashable has already begun sharing with developers.
The Aberdeen resident, who has secured an apartment in San Francisco in anticipation of spending more time here, stopped by on his way to the MacWorld Expo.
He stayed long enough to lend his Scottish burr and informed wit to the pilot episode of our new, as-yet-unnamed show which will feature guest experts helping us rate Vator.tv pitches. Look for that show early next week.
Then look for Mashable 2.0, which the company will begin inviting users to in late January.