Social media has become an accepted way to report and break news stories today. Twitter and Facebook are routinely used by newspapers, television networks and radio stations as sources for quotes. Some athletes and teams are bypassing the mainstream media and using social media to make major announcement on their own.

Recently, former Ravens all-world linebacker Ray Lewis announced via his LockerDome account that he plans to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world at nearly 20,000 feet, next month in an effort to raise awareness and money for clean-water projects in East Africa through his "TackleKili" movement.

Clearly, Lewis had many media outlets to spread the word, including his new employer, ESPN. However, he made the choice to control his message and used his page on the rapidly-growing LockerDome Network to announce his plans.

For those who are not familiar with LockerDome, it has become a social media community for players, teams, media and plenty of regular fans.

Gabe Lozano is the 30-year-old CEO and co-founder of LockerDome. His modest site has grown in five years to become a force in the social media marketplace. LockerDome is now home to over 1,475 professional athletes, brands, media personalities and other sports properties that use it as a hub to amplify their social media voice.

We talked about how he got there and where this massive sports community is headed.

Tell me about the growth of the site.

Lozano » "I see LockerDome now like Twitter was in 2008, when it started to explode and come on the national radar. We are giving sports teams, athletes, brands and media their own communities where they can instantly share information with their fans, and that is a big part of what drives our success."

How does LockerDome work?

Lozano »

"First of all, it is a free site and anyone can sign up. Once a person joins, they become a part of communities where they can consume content and interact with like-minded fans around their favorite interests, today primarily around sports. Notable publishers include Ray Lewis, Larry Fitzgerald, Alex Morgan, Golden Boy Promotions, among many others. We've partnered with over 40 sports agencies, such as CAA and Octagon, as well as dozens of media companies, such as USA Today."

Examiner columnist Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter @wordmandc.