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In the evolving argument of print vs. digital, one case to be made for the paper side of things has been what I call pinability.

Say you’re reading the Food & Wine section next Thursday and you see a great recipe for Southern cornbread. Tear, rip or snip, pin it to the bulletin board and next time the menu calls for a Southern classic, you’ve got it.

Or you’re planning your wedding and you see the perfect dress. Rip, pin and move on to the guest list.

Pinability. Newspaper has it, digital doesn’t. Or didn’t. Now it does.

Say hello to Pinterest.com, which may be even better than our corkboards. No shortage of thumbtacks, no smudged fingers and, best of all, we don’t have to be in front of our home bulletin boards to see what we’ve saved.

The website, which is predominantly populated by women, is really nothing more than a way to organize your favorite things in a visually pleasant way. And unlike our corkboards covered with paper, you can pin videos and the Internet also will take you beyond the image to a website where you can learn more, buy a product, or just explore.

You create your digital bulletin boards and then you “pin” photos, recipes, poems, things you’d like to buy, lists of books you recommend — all the things you might have pinned to your kitchen bulletin board. You can have as many boards as you want, and then, because it’s a social media website after all, your pins are shared with those who follow you or who chance across your boards. And you can look at what they’re pinning, too.

I fell immediately in love with Pinterest. And while love may be blind, this affair definitely is about looks. Nice, uncomplicated, a picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words looks.

Both Twitter and Facebook, which I use often, are very noisy and demanding of attention.

Facebook has some good stuff on it, but with people sometimes feeling the need to announce they are headed to the kitchen to make a sandwich, I slog through a lot of chatter to find something interesting.

Twitter, another useful social media tool that is extremely helpful and fun, suffers from a nervous disorder. Look away for an instant and you fall behind. I often feel guilty if I don’t refresh the screen every two minutes to read another batch of comments. And sometimes, I haven’t a clue what they are talking about; it’s like walking into the room in the middle of a conversation.

In contrast, Pinterest is calm and soothing. And it’s absorbing. I can spend hours looking, pinning and clicking on the photos people have pinned on their boards, and yet it all seems leisurely and ordered. It feels like walking into a tastefully decorated living room and finding the room goes on forever, each bookshelf, table and cabinet displaying something that catches my eye.

Pinterest, run by Cold Brew Labs in Palo Alto, is the new kid on the block, founded less than two years ago by Ben Silbermann and Paul Sciarra and launched just a year ago this month. The response has been astronomical. The site now has more than 10 million registered users.

Janet Hayhurst, of Pleasant Hill, heard about Pinterest.com from her daughter, a student at Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash. It didn’t take long to turn Hayhurst into a fan.

Pinterest is now a part of her daily routine. Every time she checks her email, she usually checks in on Pinterest. And it’s never the same twice, she says, even if she’s stepped away only for a few minutes. That’s because all of us Pinheads are busily hunting down cool, unusual, helpful or awesome “things” and pinning them on our boards.

Hayhurst uses her 13 or so boards to organize — among other things — recipes, craft ideas, holiday decorations, household products, home decor and fashion ideas.

“I used to go to my computer and look up different websites,” Hayhurst says. “Now I just search on Pinterest and the links are already there.”

When a friend was looking for an idea for baby shower favors, Hayhurst looked on Pinterest and found the cutest pair of paper baby shoes that hold sweets. One or two clicks on the pinned photo and she had the instructions and template.

She learns more about the site every time she uses it, she says, and finds new ways to capitalize on her boards. Recently, she says, her niece used her boards to organize different parts of her wedding — dresses, invitations, hairstyles.

Seeing that gave Hayhurst new ideas for how she can use her own boards.

“I just find it a really useful tool,” she says.

I find it a really fun tool. After I asked Pinterest for an invitation to join (if you want one, just email me at jmorris@bayareanewsgroup.com), I started by singling out some of my favorite public gardens and nurseries. Then I added some of my own flower photos. Then I felt the need to acknowledge a couple of books, and for the heck of it, I created a board of “Just stuff I like,” which includes a photo of my dog.

The other day I was thinking about the disorganized mess that is my craft room and wishing for an awesome one. So I created a board for that and start pinning pictures of rooms, organizers and displays.

I can dream, you know.

And pin.

Getting started

Pinterest.com is extremely easy to use, but here are some tips for becoming a Pinhead.

  • You’ll need two things: an invitation to join and a Facebook or Twitter account. Sign up at Facebook by going to www.facebook.com; for Twitter, go to http://twitter.com. You don’t have to use either account ever again, if you don’t want to. But that’s your golden ticket into Pinterest.
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  • To get an invite, go to http://pinterest.com and ask for one. Or if you know someone who’s already on Pinterest, ask them to send you an invitation. You can visit Pinterest without having to join.
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  • Once you’ve been invited, set up your account by creating a screen name — with more than 10 million users, chances are good your name already has been taken, so think of something creative. I went with gardenjoan because it was part me, part my interest, and I thought it was funny because it reminded me of another of my loves, the Garden Gnome.
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  • Once you’ve done the digital paperwork, you’re all set. Pinterest, using the information you provided about your interests, will give you suggestions on who to follow, and will tell other people about you. Pinterest will also set up some blank boards for you, which they helpfully have named. You can rename those to suit your needs and create your own.
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  • The most important thing to do is load the “pin it” button onto your Web browser by following the directions Pinterest will give you. The pin it button allows you add photos from a website onto your board. It also will embed a link to the original site.
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  • Now explore the Pinterest site or search on topics. If you see something you like on someone else’s board, just put your mouse on the image and you’ll see the option of pinning or liking it. Pinning it to your board means you’ll have easy access to it until you decide to unpin it. Hitting the “like” button won’t pin it your board, but will make it easy to find it again. Pinterest puts links to your “pins” and your “likes” at the top of your boards. Click one or the other to see what you’ve been up to.
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