Understanding human interactions in online communications is of paramount importance for our society. Alarming phenomena such as the spreading of fake news or the formation of echo chambers can emerge in unhealthy communication environments and, ultimately, undermine the democratic discourse. In this context, among many, two issues challenge the health of our information ecosystems: first, being able to identify their universal characteristics; and second, unveiling the individual drivers that give rise to collective attention. Here, following a recently proposed analogy between natural and information ecosystems, we explore these two challenges. We will present universal patterns that arise in very different discussions of online social networks, and we will continue explaining how our communication dynamics are shaped by the competition for attention in these online social networks and the strategies adopted by the users to maximize their visibility.
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