Your Instagram photos are apparently worth more, a lot more than 1,000 words.

Facebook woke the tech world up from the slow holiday weekend by announcing Monday that it would acquire photo-sharing app Instagram for a whopping $1 billion in cash and Facebook stock (neither side disclosed exactly how much cash and how much stock was involved).

After the initial shock of the announcement wore off, I can’t say I’m all that surprised by the deal for a few reasons. First, Facebook is nearing an IPO that could come as early as next month. The company is expected to be valued at $100 billion or more.

This news can only continue to hype the IPO and drive up the company’s share price when the buying frenzy begins. And I really can’t think of a bigger fish that Facebook could have snagged from out in the tech world that makes as much sense as Instagram.

It also shows how much power Facebook is wielding in the tech world. While mergers and acquisitions were once confined to big names like Google and Microsoft, Facebook is apparently showing it can be a player in the market as well.

By purchasing Instagram, Facebook also neutralizes a fast-rising competitor. When it started two years ago as an iPhone only app, it was pure photo-sharing. But, as time has passed, Instagram has muscled its way into the social networking realm.

Instagram had 27 million iPhone users and was hoping to approach 50 million with the introduction of its Android app last week. And while there was some bad publicity from iPhone users when the Android app was released, throwing Facebook into the mix should make things very interesting.

So what does this mean for Instagram? Hopefully, not all that much. I hope Zuckerberg and Facebook do keep their word and continue to keep Instagram the independent and vibrant community that it has blossomed into. But I’m afraid only time will tell if Instagram will continue to get better, or just be one part of the Facebook monster. Maybe there will finally be an Instagram for iPad app. I can dream, can’t I?

While the app has sometimes been a refuge for those anti-Facebook people out there, it seems that you can’t escape Zuckerberg and his network. What do you think of these six new filters Facebook should add to Instagram?

And for those of you who don’t want Facebook to wrap its hands around your photos, take a look at Instaport. The site promises to export all of your Instagram photos to other social networks or your local hard drive. Thanks to our friends at TUAW for the tip:

Here’s one more fun fact from an editor at The Wall Street Journal:

Are you happy about Facebook buying Instagram? What do you think the future holds for the app?