Hat tip to Geno Church over at Brains on Fire, who has visualized the "Cycle of a fan" (above). I really like the fan analogy as I think it's both common sense and accurate. Mack Collier has used this metaphor as well. Here's how Geno lays it out:
"Every fan has a story. Are you a fan of a college football team, a baseball team, a car, a restaurant, or a musician? Maybe it’s even an auto mechanic. Some of us show more “fan” behavior than others. I fall in the fan bucket. I want more out of the experience than just satisfaction. And I want more from that business or that team than just allowing me to make a purchase from them."
Point is that before you become an evangelist—you have to become a fan. In order to become a fan, you have to have had a great experience with a product or service. I'm not sure that you have to be a participant before becoming a fan (unless using something is also included in participation) but fans are more likely to convert into both evangelists and engage in community. Read the whole post. Good food for thought—and nice visual! :)