Home Vine Star Tony Oswald Is Not Just A One-Trick “Pony”

Vine Star Tony Oswald Is Not Just A One-Trick “Pony”

We’ve all heard about Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame, but what about six seconds? Vine, the ephemeral video app that allows users to upload six-second videos, has become its own community with highly followed Vine “celebrities” and their loyal fans. But can these new social media stars such as these make their fame last longer than the length of their own fleeting videos?

Oftentimes fans will follow an account looking for one specific personality or theme that they can expect to enjoy. Tony Oswald’s novelty Vine account Tony Only Dances To “Pony” is not unlike this.


Oswald, a producer and editor at Moss Garden Productions, started this account in June of this year. It now has more than 68,000 followers. Each six-second clip shows Oswald dancing to R&B singer Ginuwine’s 1996 hit, Pony.

“I started the channel after dancing to ‘Pony’ at a wedding,” says Oswald, “‘Pony’ came on and someone Vined it. I revined it to my main account which I had before Tony Only Dances to ‘Pony’ and it was successful.


“This encouraged me to make another Vine on my main account in which I was dancing to ‘Pony’. It also did well. It was after those two that I decided I should just make an entire account dedicated to the act. The rest is history. I did not however expect that account to become more popular than any other thing I’ve done on the Internet.”

In addition to Tony Only Dances To “Pony”, Oswald has three other Vine accounts: his personal Tony Oswald account, a feature-length film made six seconds at a time on an account called “Tony Besides”, and a community page called LNPP. All of these accounts also hang around the 30,000-50,000 follower range.

Popular YouTube personalities will often create “side channels,” or accounts that are separate from their main channel. This organizes content into different categories. For example, a main YouTube channel might include scripted comedy while a side channel is strictly for outtakes. If a main channel already has a solid following, creating a side channel with more videos only guarantees more views. Separate Vine accounts like Oswald’s follow the same strategy. 

Many famous Viners build social media careers from the same theory of finding one theme that works and then rolling with it. Ex-MADtv player Will Sasso is best known for his lemon vines, where in the middle of a mundane situation citrus fruits emerge from his mouth.


Viner Ryan McHenry became best known for a series of vines called “Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal”, where McHenry tries to feed cereal to a noncompliant image of Ryan Gosling.


Some Vine stars, like teen duo Jack and Jack, have been able to make genuine careers out of their humble social media beginnings. But much like the genre of the YouTube star, it is often those who are young, attractive, and male who make it big with the help of throngs of fangirls. Call it the boy-band effect.

Oswald tells me that Vine popularity does come from relying on a certain routine, but creativity within that routine is a must.

“I think to get very popular on the app, like millions of followers, you definitely have to have a curated personality,” he says. “But if you only have ambition to hang out where I am in the tens of thousands, I think I am proof that you can basically do anything you want. If you are consistently creative, people will watch.”

And even with followers in the tens of thousands (to compare, Nash Grier, the most-followed Viner, has a 10 million-plus following), Oswald is still able to do some pretty great things with his social media celebrity—not the least of which include dancing around the Vine offices and actually jamming with Ginuwine.


“After (I was) featured in BuzzFeed, people began to get in touch from the article being shared,” he says. “One of those people was Bianca Flores who worked for Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, Texas. They orchestrated the meeting between Ginuwine and [me]. I’ve danced to ‘Pony’ all over the world, literally. There are over 80 Vines on the account that go from L.A. to Paris, NYC to Spain. So meeting Ginuwine felt like the natural apex of this bizarre performance art piece that I had somehow cultivated. He was so kind and gracious. It was a bizarre, surreal, and ultimately heartwarming experience.”


Tony Only Dances To “Pony” shows that working creatively within Vine’s tiny, six-second window can indeed create fame with a longer lifespan. 

Oswald says that building a Vine career is all about knowing and understanding the platform. Give the people what they want, but also use the limiting nature of the app to push boundaries and get creative.

“People follow Tony Only Dances to ‘Pony’ because they want to see me dance to ‘Pony,'” says Oswald. “I’m not trying to hoodwink anyone. They get what they came for. As a creative person I do try to have new themes creep in every once in a while. I just try to push the creativity within the confines of limitation which in many ways is what Vine is all about. Loops, six seconds, square format. These are limitations that we have fun trying to work within.” 

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