I'm curious what people think. My personal view had been that Instagram degrades photos in a way that can admittedly look cool on very small screens (e.g., an iPhone), but in the end, was not something that was viable for "real" photography.
However, I recently purchased the Nik Collection of PS plug-ins. There are many professional photographers that I admire (e.g., Tony Wu) who are big proponents of Nik. Some of the filters in the Nik Collection, especially in Color Efex, reminded me a bit of Instagram. I started playing with them and begrudgingly admit they are kinda fun, and I like some of the results, even if they aren't exactly "realistic." Here's one sample of a photo I ran through the Detail Extractor in Color Efex (to bring out the texture in the water surface), and then a Sepia preset in Silver Efex. It is a bit hyper-stylized, but I think I kinda like it, in a guilty-pleasure kind of way.
So what do people think? Is this type of Instagram-esque post-processing cheesy? Or is it a viable way to add some variety to our UW photos? I have thick skin -- its OK if the consensus hates this picture and everything like it. I'm more just curious what people think on this topic.