1. Curiosity. At this stage, the prospective brony is likely skeptical. He’s heard about MyLittle Pony: Friendship is Magic, seen goofy image macros around the Internet, maybe read the article on Know Your Meme, but he just doesn’t understand what the fuss is about. It’s My Little Pony, for pity’s sake! Still, it couldn’t hurt to watch one episode just for fun. After all, you can’t knock it ’til you try it, right?
2. Conversion. This is the part where the prospective brony watches his first episode… then watches another, and then another. He begins to realize exactly what all the fuss is about. He even finds himself thinking that Rainbow Dash is awesome, Fluttershy is adorable, and Pinkie Pie is hilarious. At this point, the term “prospective” no longer applies. Another one joins the herd.
3. Confusion. Suddenly, the new brony’s preconceptions catch up with him, and he is thrust into emotional turmoil. A grown man watching a cartoon about brightly-colored ponies… and liking it? That’s not supposed to happen! How did it happen? What does it mean? And what will others think?
4. Caution. The new brony is usually able to deal with the first two of those questions fairly quickly. After a few days and a few more episodes, he comes to terms with the fact that he likes a My Little Pony cartoon and realizes that there’s nothing wrong with that. At this point, it’s likely that he’s chosen a favorite pony (probably Fluttershy or Rainbow Dash) and maybe even a favorite episode and song. Depending on how Internet-oriented he is, he has likely discovered some of the more well-known fan works like Eurobeat Brony’s Super Ponybeats, YouTube PMVs, and trailer mashups. The third question, however, is still weighing on his mind. He is very selective about when and where he watches the show or mentions the ponies. This stage varies in length depending on the brony’s personality and situation, and a handful don’t undergo it at all and skip straight to the final stage.
5. Complete Acceptance. At this stage, the brony stops worrying about what anyone else might think and declares his bronydom to the world. Phrases like “20 percent cooler”, “ForEVER!”, “eyup”, “anypony” and “everypony”, and “sweet Celestia’s beard!” begin to inflitrate his vocabulary. His desktop background is probably pony related, as are his Facebook profile picture and other Internet avatars. If he uses the Internet on any regular basis, he is likely involved with the fan community. He checks Equestria Daily regularly for the news, lurks the /pic/ board on Ponychan for new macros and fan art, and maybe even posts on Ponychan, too. He’s collected as much of the soundtrack as he can find on YouTube, and he listens to it and Ponybeats Volume 1 regularly. He’ll show an episode or two to anyone who expresses interest, and it won’t be long before one of his friends takes the bait and the cycle starts anew with another curious brony-to-be…