It was a dark, silent morning. The clock told me it was an hour best forgotten. It made no difference to me; I was awake, needing coffee and stumbling through my morning routine.
I squinted at the blindingly bright screen and typed quickly, then hit Enter. I always type that way, without editing and without thinking twice. But think twice I did when I read my own Twitter message as it appeared on the screen.
“What th…” I peered closer. Then I looked down at my fingers, shifted one set of letters to the left. “Mornin'” takes on new meaning when you make a typo.
“Niebu to you, too,” my friend Dave Navarro responded, and indeed, a new meaning was born.
In the space of just a few days, Niebu took off. It became a greeting, and “Niebu, everyone!” is a phrase commonly read in Twitter. It grew a little bigger, and Niebu began to represent the word goodbye as well.
A few more days, and it was amazing to watch the metamorphism of a simple typo into a mainstream phrase. It evolved, too, beyond its salutation form. It began encompassing a sense of peace, of happiness and of joy.
“It’s better than The Force,” I mentioned, and people nodded in agreement. Niebu says it all.
You can laugh over it. You can wrap it around your mind and feel good. It rolls off the tongue. It’s short, succinct and carries good associations. It represents belonging and community.
Newcomers to Twitter ask what Niebu is. Many soon adopt it into their language. Niebu has been seen in blog comment sections, in blog posts and in emails.
“I’d pay for premium Niebu,” someone wrote me, and I was stunned to see the very word I’d launched in the world typed back in such a language-integrated, comfortable way.
Niebu has been submitted to Urban Dictionary. It may reach mainstream society quickly and become part of everyday lexicons everywhere. I knew the scope creep was happening when I wound up a phone call with Harry recently: “Alright. I’m outta here. Niebu, bro. Catch you in the morning.”