How a seventh-grader knows that it’s a snow day

As I drove home from work yesterday, I heard reports on the radio of wintry weather headed toward the Triangle region of North Carolina. That, of course, was followed by reports of delayed openings for some schools.

That’s how I typically get information about closings: radio and television. When I worked in the newspaper business, we published such announcements in print. Newsroom deadlines and school administrators didn’t always work well together, however.

When I got home, I mentioned to my son, a seventh-grader, that schools might open late Friday because of bad weather. He hadn’t heard anything about that possibility, so I was his initial source for this news. Then he looked at his iPad for more information.

I asked: “How do you and your friends find out if schools are closed or delayed because of weather?”

He replied: “Instagram.”

I had asked the same question of high school students two years ago. Their answer then: Facebook.

My son’s choice of news source was confusing to me, because I think of Instagram as a place to look at photos posted by friends, not for breaking news. But sure enough, a little after 9 p.m., he said: “Ah-ha. We’re on a three-hour delay.” He showed me that several of his friends were posting screen-grab images from Twitter and the school system’s website making the announcement.

It turned out that our area got nothing but a cold, hard rain on Friday morning. No white stuff, no black ice. And no snowy scenes worth posting to Instagram.