• online social capital;
  • social networks;
  • enacted support;
  • perceptions;
  • behavior


Online social networking sites enable users to connect with large, heterogeneous groups of people. While extant research suggests individuals benefit psychologically from the perception that they are well connected, little is known about the nature of tangible resources embedded in these online networks. In this study 49 participants sent 588 requests for instrumental help to their Facebook friends to determine the accessibility of networked resources and online social capital. Almost 80% of these modest requests went unanswered, and perceived bridging and bonding capital did not explain enacted support. However, people who occupied socially prestigious positions were the most likely to benefit from their friend's help. These results suggest that expansive mediated networks may yield limited instrumental benefits.