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It's time to let a little bird tell you who the influencers are in topics that matter to you online, and that's exactly what Little Bird, a startup from former ReadWriteWeb and TechCrunch journalist Marshall Kirkpatrik can do for you.Little Bird promotes itself as a tool for businesses of all sizes to discover true topical influencers online. Unlike tools like Klout and PeerIndex, which are often criticized as little more than popularity contests that can easily be erroneously manipulated, Little Bird uses proprietary algorithms to search social graphs and find top accounts that are likely to be the most credible in their areas of expertise.In other words, instead of ranking people and profiles, Little Bird analyzes topics in a manner that lets the most authoritative voices rise to the top. In essence, Little Bird works exactly opposite to the way other influence tools work in order to identify influencers.Little Bird is currently in private beta, but you can request to join the beta here. Once you submit your name and required information to request access to the Little Bird beta, you'll immediately receive a username and password that you can use to access example reports for topics like beer, data visualization, public relations, and more. Reports identify influential individuals and organizations as well as enable you to compare profiles, find blogs, identify emerging influencers, and more. The company states that more features and data will come in the future, too.Little Bird is targeted to businesses of all sizes and will offer a tiered pricing structure with options for individual accounts, too. A free version with limited features will also be available. If online influence and building your own authority are important to you, then Little Bird is a tool that should definitely be on your radar screen since it works in a completely unique way to deliver "influence data." Check it out in the introduction video below.

It's safe to assume that Little Bird is well-positioned for a highly successful launch and future. The Wall Street Journal reports that Little Bird, "Closed a $1 million seed round [earlier this month], with big name angels participating. Radical Investments, a Mark Cuban fund, led the round joined by Social Leverage, the investment vehicle of StockTwits founder Howard Lindzon, HubSpot co-founder Dharmesh Shah, former lead Twitter developer Blaine Cook and others."If you're curious about seeing how Little Bird could help you identify and connect with online influencers in your area of expertise or if you want to establish yourself as an expert and increase the reach of your Authoritative Content, it's worth taking a minute to submit your name to the beta and review the types of reports and data Little Bird offers.Image: Little Bird

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