Social Media Debate

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SCRANTON -- Torre Scrimalli, 18, said he is sorry, but the Scranton Prep senior has started a firestorm of controversy after a tweet, which led to an evacuation during a high school basketball game and security sweeps.

Scrimalli is facing two counts of terroristic threats, which could lead to a maximum sentence of 14 years behind bars.

Kristen Yarmey is the digital services librarian at university of Scranton.

She said when social media was first conceived, it was a closed, more private kind of environment but not anymore.

"A student is putting something out on Twitter and his perception of twitter is it's something I use to talk to my friends, so my friends will see it, it's a joke, everybody will laugh, and that's it, and you kind of forget the larger environment, that this is publicly searchable, I'm using words that people may be following and watching out for and something that I said loses the context of me joking with my friends, it becomes something in text that doesn't have my laugh. It doesn't have my tone, and all of a sudden it can be taken very very differently from what I intended," said Yarmey.

When Newswatch 16 tried to talk with fellow Scranton Prep students about Scrimalli's alleged Tweet, they said they could not comment.

Instead, many turned to social media with posts like these on Twitter:

"The news station sounds surprised that we all declined to comment on this situation. We stick together and support our classmate #prepfamily."

"That is crazy, he is literally one of the nicest kids you could ever meet #prayfortorre."

"His tweet was blown completely out of proportion #prayfortorre."

"Twitter is like an airplane. You'll be arrested for saying bomb on it #prayfortorre."

Despite those opinions, Newswatch 16 found people who said they understand that nothing on social media is private and should be taken seriously.

"It's shocking that people would post that kind of stuff knowing how many people can have access to it. Nothing is private online anymore, so everything you post someone can see whether you want them to or not so it's easily reported to anybody," said Alyssa Potter, a University of Scranton student.

"In this day and ago, who really would do that? Knowing how much people look at your Facebooks and your social media? That's really a serious offense now. I just don't know how you can do that nowadays," said Sandra Perry of Dunmore, also a University of Scranton student.

Yarmey said there is a perception that younger people are more tech savvy, and while she said they do use technology and social media more frequently than others, they do not necessarily fully understand how they are using it and that is the danger.

"With the technology changing so quickly, it's a constant struggle even for us to keep up with what's going on and what things mean and where information is going and being stored," said Yarmey.