Customizing Makes Personalizing Possible

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The difference between “customizing” and “personalizing” can be confusing. Do you customize something to personalize it, or personalize something to customize it?

The first is true. You customize something so it’s personalized.

One of the reasons these terms aren’t always distinguishable is because personalization is relatively new in some areas.

Personalized medicine is new. It uses genetics to tailor a treatment that has been customized for each patient.

Personalized learning has been around for a long time. From the teacher’s perspective, personalization means designing learning experiences that provide students with choices they can make depending on their own needs.

In content marketing, personalized content, meant to sell products or services, is based on people’s web interactions. A good example of this is Amazon “noticing” what you are buying so they can personalize their front page.

Companies that offer a range of product designs, like Zazzle, let you customize a product to make it your own. For example, you can start with a slogan bumper sticker and add your brand’s slogan, colors, and fonts. This creates a personalized sticker based on the choices you made.

The same is true with e-cards. You can personalize them by choosing a design you like, and then add your name, message, and any other available options. When you save your choices, you have a personalized card.

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There are now many web-creation tools that make it easy to build your own personal site. You start by choosing a theme (or template) for your homepage, and then customize it by adding your own heading, tagline, logo, photos, videos, text, visitor guestbook, and any other content that keeps visitors coming back.

In Windows, you can use themes to customize your desktop’s background color, window border, sounds, and screen saver. This personalizes it.

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When you create an account on a website by entering your name, password, and any other required information, you often get a personalized message the next time you log in (like “Welcome back Jane”).

In other words, when you customize something, it becomes personalized.

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