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When is a meme not a meme? Never. We are all memes now. From NOOP.nl. Nope? Meme neither:
Santa Clause is a meme; the Christmas tree is a meme; putting presents in stockings (or in shoes as we do here in Holland) is a meme; Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a meme; the birth of Jesus Christ is a meme; and angels and elves are all memes.
It is the same with rules, procedures, and practices for software development. They are ideas, concepts and beliefs that people copy from each other through mimicry, interaction, and learning. Stand-up meetings are a meme; pair programming is a meme; refactoring is a meme; iterative development is a meme; and user stories are a meme. Memetics is the study of evolutionary models of information transfer, often in a cultural context.
We refer to a collection of interdependent memes as a memeplex. Christmas is a typical memeplex. And so is agile software development. Universal Darwinism shows us that memes group together in a memeplex because they will copy themselves more successfully when they are "teamed up." (Genes do the same thing, in which case they are called gene complexes.) Christmas is a successful memeplex in that all the different memes, despite having many different origins, now reinforce each other, rendering them virtually indestructible. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer probably wouldn't have survived on his own. But the meme has, quite literally, teamed up with Santa Claus, and now seems to have reached an immortal status.
Well, not quite literally.