A study by a research team at Penn State has found that 20% of Tweets tend to be brand-related, for better or for worse.

“People are using tweets to express their reaction, both positive and negative, as they engage with these products and services,” said Jim Jansen, associate professor of information science and technology. “Tweets are about as close as one can get to the customer point of purchase for products and services.”

“Businesses use micro-communication for brand awareness, brand knowledge and customer relationship,” Janson said. “Personal use is all over the board.” He added, “It may be right up there with e-mail in terms of its communication impact.”

20% of the tweets contained product information in the form of asking or providing, lending companies — which increasingly use Twitter for brand-building, brand awareness and CRM — a “rich source” of information regarding their wares.