In the news:
After 145 years, Western Union has quietly stopped sending telegrams."Era Ends: Western Union Stops Sending Telegrams"
On the company's web site, if you click on "Telegrams" in the left-side navigation bar, you're taken to a page that ends a technological era with about as little fanfare as possible:
"Effective January 27, 2006, Western Union will discontinue all Telegram and Commercial Messaging services. We regret any inconvenience this may cause you, and we thank you for your loyal patronage. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact a customer service representative."
The decline of telegram use goes back at least to the 1980s, when long-distance telephone service became cheap enough to offer a viable alternative in many if not most cases. Faxes didn't help. Email could be counted as the final nail in the coffin.
I must admit that my use of telegrams was, well, non-existent. Still, it was nice to know that they were around.
For more on "the dowdy world":
The dowdy world on film
The dowdy world on radio