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Tweets against holes
Vimeo / El Hueco Twitero
Voices from below.
CRACKING THE CRACK

The potholes in Panama City are tweeting their own repair requests

By Maria Sanchez Diez

The Dubai of Latin America” is a nickname often used to refer to Panama City. But far below its sparkling skyline of office towers and apartment buildings, streets pocked with potholes make drivers’ daily life rather bumpy and unpleasant.

That’s why the TV show Telemetro Reporta has launched the project The Tweeting Pothole (El Hueco Twittero), installing motion-sensitive devices (link in Spanish) in the craters that mar Panama City’s streets. When a car runs over one of them, a tweet is sent automatically to the account of the Ministry of Public Works, according to the site.

The initiative has already gotten a reaction from a minister, Ramon Arosemena, who has declared that the Panama City’s holes are the result of years of “neglect and poor practice” in construction.

Telemetro Reporta has dedicated a section of the show to The Tweeting Pothole, a project created in collaboration with ad agency P4 Ogilvy & Mather, also gathering testimonies of citizens tired of the cracks. (This is the same agency that recently used DNA to create posters that shamed litterbugs in Hong Kong.)

“My next car will be a tank,” tweeted one young driver. “My baby is going to be born blurred due to so much shaking,” declared a pregnant woman. “Dampers, arrowhead, wheels… these wholes have broken every piece of my car,” said a cab driver.

There are plenty of visual gags too:

“We are trying to use humor and technology to try to solve a problem that is not easy to solve,” Pinky Mon, a Ogilvy & Mather vice president of creative services, tells Quartz.

The Tweeting Pothole is also mapping the most damaged streets of the city on a website. Users have reported on Twitter that workers from public works are finding their way to some of the tweeting potholes for quick repairs.