The Guardian article (rant) is the typical criticism we've all read a million times - and usually from the Guardian. It's unfortunate the the writer has 'photophobia' because of one incident which he believes is some kind of profound awakening. 'How can you fool yourself about this? For every wacky picture you take and upload, a million just as wacky are being taken.' Don't take wacky pictures?
I play with Instagram and use it to practice compositions when I'm walking to and from - when I'm not out with the intention of photographing that is. I feel I use it more creatively, and personally than 'non-photographers' (whatever they are) and the main reason being that I've never, not once, participated in or looked at the community side of it. I make the same kind of photographs I do on film, they're just a lite version. I don't know what's going on in the world of Instagram photography, and if I did, I'd probably start unconsciously following the creative trends that so many scorn. I've said that about Flickr on APUG too, about which the same criticisms can be made; collective quality of work playing second fiddle to the function Flickr uploads have - networking, social validation. But, as ever, my most deeply held photographic philosophy is don't consider amateur work any kind of benchmark. If you do your own thing, and consciously ignore everything else (amateur), you'll come up with unique solutions to problems you create yourself. This IS possible with Instagram, if you consciously ignore it as a social networking tool.
I'm personally not concerned about the selling off of uploads, because all the pictures I've played with are in my phone memory only. That's to say, I use Instagram.