Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at 4:16 pm.

Why Android Won’t Ruin Instagram

That buzzing noise in your pocket today is the sound of push alerts — Android users rushing to Instagram.

Will Android ruin Instagram?

Until now, of course, it has been a glorious iOS-only social network of interesting photos, taken by interesting people. Because, of course, interesting people only use iPhones. And the people who use Android phones aren’t the type of people who would contribute beautiful or interesting photos to the world. Or something.

The good news is that the only way Android could ruin Instagram is if you let it ruin Instagram for you.

Instagram is built on a following-based model; it’s what you make of it. (The main stream, at least. Instagram could and should still do a better job curating interesting photos from people you’re not following. But that’s independent of what’s being posted at large. And a different problem for a different day.)

Again: The only photos you see in your stream are those you ask for. So if someone is posting stupid or ugly stuff, unfollow them! It’s pretty simple. There should be no social pressure to follow someone on Instagram if you don’t want to. If you haven’t learned from your Facebook mistakes by now, that’s your problem.

In this sense, it’s the opposite of the problem that Hotline — an amazing Mac-only-for-a-while chat/file-sharing community in the late 90s — experienced when it eventually launched for Windows. (Although it’s a fun analogy that I’ve made on Twitter.) In Hotline’s case, Windows users were free to log in to Mac-based Hotline servers, or clutter up the list of servers with their own crappy communities, ruining the experience for everyone.

But Android rodentia can’t just stuff ugly photos into your Instagram feed without your taking the initiative to follow them. (They can on Twitter and Facebook, perhaps, but they’ve been able to do that without Instagram forever. If they’re really tacky with their newfound filters, unfollow them there, too.)

So it should be okay. But it is up to you.

Earlier: Instagram Is Quickly Becoming The Next Great Social Network