These frustrated potholes tweet complaints straight to the authorities

Plenty of people tweet gripes about potholes going unrepaired. Now the potholes themselves are tweeting their frustration.

Leslie Katz Former Culture Editor
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Leslie Katz
2 min read

Video screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET

It's not unusual for an angry driver to let loose colorful invective upon driving over a pothole. But in Panama City, the potholes themselves are talking -- and sharing their gripes on Twitter.

"I feel terrible. I just caused tire damage to an old lady's ," a pothole recently tweeted on the account El Hueco Twitero (The Tweeting Pothole), which has almost 3,000 followers. "At least tell me what I need and I'll cover myself," tweeted another.

The potholes had their say via a device placed inside them that contains pressure and motion sensors and an RF transmitter that triggers a tweet to the Ministry of Public Works (MOP) every time a runs over the chasms. The details of the tweets seem to be selected randomly -- these potholes aren't just peeved, they're creative.

"Despite the great development of the City of Panama, its streets are in bad shape and getting worse every day...causing great inconvenience to those who pass while those responsible to repair are not doing anything about it," reads a site for the project, which also features a Google Map showing which potholes along the city's busiest streets have taken up tweeting, sometimes dozens of times an hour.

Panama daily news show "Telemetro Reporta" set up the system to take the complaints of frustrated drivers directly to authorities. The show has furthered the cause of fixing Panama's copious potholes with a segment that airs messages sent by The Tweeting Pothole, as well as interviews with drivers dealing with the public nuisance. "A pothole? This is a moon crater," one exasperated driver says.

Indeed, according to the below video about the project produced by local advertising agency P4 Ogilvy & Mather, Panama City's gaping potholes aren't kidding around. But there is good news, according to the report. "The streets are being repaired. Our tweets started a solution that is currently being carried out," it says.

The city's pothole problem has even caught the attention of Panama's minister of Public Works, Ramón Arosemena. He addressed the issue on "Telemetro Reporta" Monday, blaming it on poor construction and a lack of approved funds to fix the problem. Wonder what the potholes will have to say about the interview.